NewsWorld"I was 50 steps away from the explosion": Witness...

“I was 50 steps away from the explosion”: Witness describes the carnage of the attack near Kabul airport

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(CNN) – Afghans who narrowly avoided the terror attack outside Kabul airport on Thursday have described gruesome scenes and piles of bodies at the scene of the blast.

Muhammad, who said he aided US forces and worked with NATO in Afghanistan, was at the airport with his family on Thursday, trying to talk to US troops and find a flight out of the country.

“I was standing just 50 steps from the explosion that happened yesterday with my family,” he told CNN. “I can’t describe the situation to you … it was like a scene from a movie that I actually saw.”

“There was a river of blood … if you wanted to take a few steps, first you had to check if there was a corpse under your feet to move,” he said. Muhammad did not provide his last name for security reasons.

“I covered my daughters’ eyes so they wouldn’t see the situation, because it was a very ugly situation. After that, I took my family out and went home.”

Relatives place the coffin of a victim of the 26 August suicide bombings in a car outside Kabul airport. The attacks targeted crowds trying to flee Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover. (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI / AFP via Getty Images)

The attack, claimed by the ISIS-K terror group, killed more than 170 people. Thirteen US soldiers also lost their lives in the attack.

Muhammad said the Taliban sent him multiple threatening messages, warning him that they would kill him if he did not work with them.

But despite the atrocity, he said he would return to Kabul airport with his family on Friday, as he has done all week. “I try to go to the airport gates to speak (with foreign troops) and show my identification and documents to say that I have worked with them, but I have not been successful.”

The main entrance to the airport

The deadly attack occurred at the airport’s abbey gate, which has recently become the main point of entry and primary security has been provided by the US Marines. The area around that gate had been used to house refugees after they passed through Taliban checkpoints outside the airport and before they were allowed to go to the airport.

Thousands of Afghans had gathered at the airport gates in recent days in the hope of being evacuated. Images posted on social media Thursday after the blast show chaotic scenes of crowds trying to help the injured amid bodies lying on the ground. Other images show bloodied people being transported off the scene in wheelbarrows.

Other witnesses described a massacre and a similar tragedy. “It was like someone pulling the ground under my feet; for a moment I thought my eardrums were shattered and I lost my hearing,” a former employee of an international development group who has a special immigrant visa from Japan told Reuters. USA.

People gather to find their missing relatives on Friday.

“I saw bodies and body parts flying in the air like a tornado carrying plastic bags … into the air. I saw bodies, body parts, injured elderly and men, women and children scattered at the scene of the explosion,” said the man.

“It is not possible to see the end of the world in this life, but today I saw the end of the world, I witnessed it with my own eyes.”

ISIS in Khorasan, known as ISIS-K, claimed responsibility for the attack, but did not provide evidence to support the claim.

US officials said the group was likely behind the attack, and President Joe Biden announced Thursday that he had ordered US military commanders “to develop operational plans to attack ISIS-K assets, leadership and facilities.”

“We will hunt them down and make them pay,” Biden said.

In previous days, the president had cited the risk of a terrorist attack among the reasons for pulling US troops out of the country before August 31. The US embassy in Kabul warned US citizens to avoid the airport. Pentagon officials said they are receiving reports of credible threats to the evacuation effort in Afghanistan and are monitoring those threats “virtually, in real time.”

“We still believe there are credible threats. In fact, I would say specific and credible threats, and we want to make sure we are prepared for them,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Friday.

Pentagon: Despite attacks, we continue with the evacuation 2:05

Pallabi Munsi contributed to this report.

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