Explosion at Kabul airport in Afghanistan

Canada was “among the last to cease evacuation operations,” he said, after other states with personnel in Afghanistan announced they were ceasing their own rescue operations before an August 31 cutoff date: Canadian Defense Ministry

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Kabul: The Pentagon said there was an explosion outside Kabul airport. Reports say it was a suicide blast.

Spokesman John Kirby said there was no immediate word on casualties in the blast Thursday.

Thousands of Afghans have been gathered at the airport for days trying to flee the country since the Taliban takeover earlier this month. Western nations had warned of a possible attack.

People urged to move away from Kabul airport over attack threat as evacuation planes take off every 39 minutes. The US and its allies have urged people to move away from Kabul airport due to the threat of an attack by an affiliate of the ISIL (ISIS) armed group.

In the 11 days since the Taliban took Kabul, the US and its allies have mounted one of the biggest air evacuations in history, bringing out more than 88,000 people. The US military says planes are taking off about every 39 minutes. Taliban fighters have been guarding the perimeter of the airport, thronged by thousands of people trying to flee a Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.

“The US and the Taliban have a deal. The Taliban are under strict instructions not to let anyone through without a passport, without a green card, without verified documents and there is confusion about what a verified document looks like,” she said.

She also said Kandahar airport has been reopened, giving hope that international flights will be possible even if Kabul airport closes down or has an interruption. Meanwhile, there is a mounting humanitarian crisis in the country, with the World Food Programme saying about 14 million people are facing severe hunger in the nation of about 39 million. Canada said it had ended its evacuation operations in Afghanistan, where foreign governments are rushing to airlift out citizens and Afghan allies after a Taliban takeover and ahead of a looming deadline.

“Over the last day, our evacuation operations have ceased,” Canadian defense ministry representative Lieutenant-General Wayne Eyre told a press conference, adding that only a small team remained on the ground.

Canada was “among the last to cease evacuation operations,” he said, after other states with personnel in Afghanistan announced they were ceasing their own rescue operations before an August 31 cutoff date. Afghan forces shot into the air to disperse crowds near Kabul airport on Thursday and did not fire at an Italian military transport plane, a government source said, quoting intelligence reports.

Earlier, a defence source said the C-130 transporter, carrying almost 100 Afghan civilians, had come under attack minutes after take off.

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