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Middle East states condemn 'heinous' attacks on Kabul airport

Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Egypt issue statements of condemnation after suicide bombings left dozens dead
A screen grab shows an emergency vehicle as people arrive at a hospital after an attack at Kabul airport in Afghanistan on 26 August 2021.
A screen grab shows an emergency vehicle as people arrive at a hospital after an attack at Kabul airport in Afghanistan on 26 August 2021 (Reuters)

A number of countries across the Middle East have condemned Thursday's deadly attacks on Kabul airport, where thousands of Afghans had amassed to escape Taliban rule.

Two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds outside of the airport, killing dozens of Afghans and at least 11 US marines and one navy medic.

The local chapter of the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attacks and said one of the suicide bombers "managed to reach a large gathering of translators and collaborators with the American army at 'Baran Camp' near Kabul Airport and detonated his explosive belt among them, killing about 60 people and wounding more than 100 others, including Taliban fighters".

Graphic videos posted on social media showed dozens of bodies scattered at Hamid Karzai International Airport.

Turkey, Qatar, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia were among some of the first countries to condemn the attacks, with Riyadh saying they were "incompatible with all religious principles".

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"We condemn this heinous act in the strongest possible terms and offer our condolences to the bereaved families," Turkey's foreign ministry said in a statement.

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Qatar's foreign ministry expressed "condolences to the families of the victims and wishes the injured a speedy recovery".

Saudi Arabia said the attacks were "incompatible with all religious principles and moral and human values", and that it hoped for stability in Afghanistan.

The Taliban, which captured the Afghan capital earlier this month, also condemned the attacks that took place in an area controlled by the US military.

"The Islamic Emirate strongly condemns the bombing targeting civilians at Kabul airport," said Taliban spokesman in Kabul, Zabihullah Mujahid.

Chaos erupted in Afghanistan since US President Joe Biden announced his decision to withdraw all US and coalition forces by 31 August.

By the second week of August, the Taliban walked into the capital city of Kabul without firing a single bullet, with former President Ashraf Ghani fleeing to the United Arab Emirates.

Since then, the US and its allies have been conducting one of the biggest air evacuations in history, moving nearly 100,000 people out of the country.

There have been concerns over the August deadline, with little time left to evacuate the thousands who remain in Afghanistan.

General Frank McKenzie, head of US Central Command (Centcom), said Washington would press on with evacuations, noting that there were still around 1,000 American citizens in Afghanistan.

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