Heavily armed Taliban fighters were on patrol outside Kabul's airport Friday as evacuation flights resumed a day after Thursday's horrific scenes. The death toll from Thursday's twin suicide bombings has now risen to more than 100, including 13 US troops, the AP reports. Officials say at least 95 Afghans were killed, though the true toll could be higher. Morgues are at capacity and officials say many bodies are still unclaimed because the victims' relatives are in distant provinces. President Biden vowed Thursday night to "hunt down" members of ISIS-K, the regional Islamic State affiliate, which has claimed responsibility for the attack. More:
- US gave Taliban lists of names. Some lawmakers and military officials have been outraged by reports that American officials gave the Taliban lists of names of Americans and Afghan allies so they could get past the group's checkpoints, Politico reports. With the Taliban's history of killing collaborators with foreign forces, one defense official describes the move as putting the Afghans on a "kill list." National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne acknowledged that the US has "shared information with the Taliban that has successfully facilitated evacuations from Kabul."
- Crowds return to airport. Crowds of people desperate to flee the Taliban takeover have returned to the airport, but they now number in the hundreds, not the thousands seen before Thursday's attacks, the New York Times reports. Thousands more are fleeing the country by land to Pakistan.
- Workers' papers found at British embassy. Ben Wallace, Britain's defense secretary, says he is concerned by reports that papers identifying Afghan workers and job applicants were found on the ground in the country's Kabul diplomatic mission, the Guardian reports. Embassy staff had failed to destroy the papers, which could lead to Taliban reprisals, when they abandoned the building as the Taliban entered Kabul. Wallace said Friday that the UK's evacuation mission is now in its final hours and "the sad fact is not every single one will get out."
- Who are ISIS-K? The Washington Post looks at the history and objectives of the group, which has been operating in Afghanistan since 2015. Their "main goal right now is to stay politically relevant, disrupt efforts to stabilize the country, and also undermine the Afghan Taliban’s credibility," says US Military Academy assistant professor Amira Jadoon.
- More attacks feared. General Frank McKenzie, head of US Central Command, says American forces are on the alert for more attacks, potentially including rocket attacks on the airport, reports Reuters. McKenzie says some intelligence has been shared with the Taliban and he believes "some attacks have been thwarted by them."
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