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UN, NATO Denounce Deadly Suicide Bombings in Kabul


United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addresses the U.N. Security Council regarding the situation in Afghanistan, at the United Nations in New York City, Aug. 16, 2021.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres denounced Thursday's deadly attacks at the airport in the Afghan capital of Kabul, according to U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric.

At least 103 people were killed — 90 Afghans and 13 members of the U.S. military — according to Pajhwok, a main Afghan news agency, and the Pentagon, in what Guterres called a "terrorist" attack as crowds of Afghans gathered at the airport, seeking to flee the country in the last days of an enormous airlift after the Taliban's recent takeover of the country.

During a briefing, Dujarric told reporters, "This incident underscores the volatility of the situation on the ground in Afghanistan but also strengthens our resolve as we continue to deliver urgent assistance across the country in support of the Afghan people."

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg tweeted that he "strongly" condemned "the horrific terrorist attack" and that the priority of the alliance "remains to evacuate as many people to safety as quickly as possible."

Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen said, "We strongly condemn this gruesome incident and will take every step to bring the culprits to justice."

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack, multiple media outlets reported.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the attacks as "barbaric." He also said the attacks underscore the importance of continuing the evacuations "in as fast and as efficient manner as possible in the hours that remain to us" before the August 31 deadline.

After the first attack, Britain's transportation ministry issued an advisory to airlines to avoid flying below 7,620 meters over Afghanistan.

U.S. Representative Peter Meijer, who was recently criticized for taking a "secret" trip to Kabul to witness the chaos at the international airport, called the attack "a nightmare scenario we had been fearing" in a tweet Thursday.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee called the attack "cowardly."

"This is a full-fledged humanitarian crisis & our government must secure the airport & evacuate the many US citizens & vulnerable Afghans desperately trying to leave the country," a tweet posted from the committee's account read.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen condemned "the cowardly and inhumane attacks at Kabul airport," while European Council President Charles Michel called for continuing evacuations from the airport.

Some information in this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.