Two explosions outside the Kabul airport Thursday killed at least 12 U.S. service members and injured “dozens” of others as the U.S. attempts to continue its evacuations out of Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.
Officials have identified terrorist group ISIS-K as most likely responsible for the attacks. The extent of the injuries and deaths is not yet clear. Pentagon press secretary John Kirby confirmed that there have been U.S. and civilian casualties.
One of the explosions occurred outside the Baron Hotel – but why attack this hotel in addition to such a high-profile target as the Hamid Karzai International Airport?
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What is the Baron Hotel?
The 160-room hotel stands less than a mile from the airport, near Camp Sullivan.
The hotel’s website says it is provides “safe, secure housing, lodging and or accommodation in Kabul, Afghanistan.”
The description touted the hotel’s security, as it sits within the “buffer zone of security” due its proximity to the airport and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
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Why attack the Baron Hotel?
The hotel has served as a processing center for Afghan people hoping to flee the country as the Taliban take control.
The hotel served as a gathering point for American citizens in the past for rescue and evacuation. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday said that up to 1,500 Americans may still be in the country. The attack may have attempted to target a large number of American citizens.
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Last week, 169 Americans were rescued from the hotel by three Chinook helicopters, Fox News correspondent Jacqui Heinrich reported.
Baron Hotel in Afghanistan: What we know – Fox News