A deadly day in Kabul, as a feared attack killed dozens of Afghan citizens, 13 US service members, and undoubtedly the ever-waning hope of desperate citizens hoping to be evacuated.
Dozens of Afghan citizens, as well as 13 US troops, were killed in two explosions in Kabul on Thursday. An estimated 150 others were injured in the attacks, roughly 15 of them understood to be US military personnel.
CNN had quite a powerful opening line to one of its articles about this;
“America's longest war is ending as it began, with the nation mourning the dead of a terrorist attack and an outraged President vowing to hunt down the culprits in Afghanistan.”
- Where did the explosions happen? Both were on the outskirts of the civilian side of Kabul airport. The first explosion occurred close to a nearby hotel, the second was by one of the main entrances to the airport, known as Abbey Gate.
- Remember: Warnings of an attack had circulated in the hours before the explosions, with people being warned to immediately leave the areas surrounding the airport.
- Who is responsible? IS-K are thought to be behind the explosions. Remember: The ISIS affiliate has been described as a “sworn enemy” of the Taliban.
- Numbers of fatalities: We are saying ‘dozens’ because the number remains very fluid at this point. For example, BBC News are reporting at least 90 have died, The Guardian say 73, and Al Jazeera are currently reporting 85.
- Ongoing threats: US authorities have spoken about the possibility of new threats being imminent. CNN cited the head of US Central Command, who mentioned possible attacks involving rockets or “vehicle borne suicide bombs”.
- President Biden’s reaction: “We will not forgive, we will not forget, we will hunt you down and make you pay.”
Johnson reaction: The British prime minister said there were “almost certainly members of the Taliban who were themselves killed” in the “despicable” attack. Johnson added the attack proves “the difficulty any government is going to have in running Afghanistan”.
*Important to note: While Johnson made this statement, Taliban casualties remain unconfirmed at this point.
- British Embassy staff: In an exclusive piece, The Times reveals the British Embassy in Kabul left paperwork with the name and details of its Afghan staff lying around that the Taliban could find.
- Evacuation efforts: Despite the attack, President Biden and Prime Minister Johnson have both said evacuation efforts will continue. The UK’s evacuations are said to be within its final hours.
- Evacuations efforts ending: Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and Australia have all ended their evacuation missions, according to BBC News. The Guardian is also reporting New Zealand has ended its efforts, while Reuters reports Norway has done the same.
- Ireland’s evacuation efforts also ended, with 36 Irish citizens and residents evacuated. The evacuation team ended their mission with the belief nobody else would get to Kabul airport any time soon, but assistance for others will continue remotely. Worth noting: The Irish Times notes there are still an estimated 60 Irish citizens, and 15 Afghans with Irish residency who remain in Afghanistan at this point.
An Afghan girl born on a US military evacuation flight over the weekend has been named Reach, after the plane’s call sign: Reach 828.
According to the US Air Mobility Command’s official Twitter account, the mother had gone into labour before the flight landed, and once it did, medical personnel came onboard and delivered the child in the cargo bay of the plane.
WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING?
French footballer Benjamin Mendy - who played with Manchester City - has been charged with four counts of rape and one count of sexual assault. The charges relate to three complainants over the age of 16. The incidents are alleged to have occurred between October 2020 and August 2021.
Club reaction: Man City has suspended Mendy. Worth noting: Mendy is due to appear in court today.
Michel Barnier - the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator - announced he will run for president of France against Emmanuel Macron in next year’s election. Barnier has previously served as minister of three different departments, under three different presidents.
Worth noting: The election takes place in April 2022.
PIN DROP - WHAT’S BEEN GOING ON IN ARMENIA? 🇦🇲
A mass brawl - the third one in two days - broke out in the Armenian parliament on Wednesday. According to the BBC, the dispute was sparked by Vahe Hakobian, the opposition leader, calling the Prime Minister a “lying populist.” Members of parliament can be seen kicking and punching each other, and the session had to be paused, with several members being removed from the parliament floor by security in an attempt to end the disruption.
Water bottles - which were being thrown around the room - have since been removed from the chamber, according to RTE news.
What’s been causing the tension? Last year, Armenia lost the six week war with Azerbaijan - which claimed around 6,500 lives - for control of the Nagorno-Karabakh region. The Prime Minister signed a peace deal that ceded the territory to Azerbaijan, but he faced a lot of backlash and blame for it from opposition parties as it had been under Armenian control for almost three decades.
MAN CITY MOVES
In other news surrounding the football club…
Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola has announced his plans to leave the Premier League club when his contract expires in 2023. The coach plans to then manage a national team, if the opportunity arises.
Guardiola joined Man City back in 2016.
According to media speculation, Man City could potentially submit a formal bid for Cristiano Ronaldo. The reports come after Ronaldo’s representatives allegedly spoke to his current club - Juventus - about a potential move to England’s Premier League.
Remember: Ronaldo previously played six seasons with Manchester United.
- BBC News: Peloton cuts price of bike as sales growth slows
- The Guardian: Kabul airport attack: Biden vows revenge for Afghanistan explosion that killed dozens, as US forces brace for further attacks
- The Financial Times: At least 13 troops among those killed in Kabul bombings
- Al Jazeera:Taliban says 72 civilians killed in Kabul blasts, US vows revenge
- RTÉ News: Coroner: BBC presenter died due to vaccine complication
- The Irish Times:Irish resident handed five-year sentence in Iraq for unspecified conviction
UK loses 83% of department stores since BHS collapse
According to BBC News, 388 department stores across the country have closed their doors since 2016 - with 237 sitting empty at the moment.
COOK CAN AFFORD CHEF, THANKS TO APPLE
Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, celebrated ten years in the position this week. To mark the milestone, he sold some shares - five million - worth an estimated $750 million.
The deal was dependent on Apple’s performance. The company’s share price apparently increased by 1,200% under Cook’s leadership.
Let’s get some context here: That $750m for the ten years works out at about $205,000… every. single. day.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE…
Oh, that sibling support.