A U.S. Marine escorts a child to his family during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 24, 2021.  Two days later, the airport was attacked, claiming the lives of at least 12 U.S. service members and wounding another 15. CNS photo/Sgt. Samuel Ruiz/U.S. Marine Corps/handout via Reuters
A U.S. Marine escorts a child to his family during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 24, 2021. Two days later, the airport was attacked, claiming the lives of at least 12 U.S. service members and wounding another 15. CNS photo/Sgt. Samuel Ruiz/U.S. Marine Corps/handout via Reuters
WASHINGTON – An already tense situation in Afghanistan took a turn for the worse early Aug. 26 when two explosions near the Kabul airport led to casualties and injuries still being calculated.

Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, said in an Aug. 26 video news conference that 12 U.S. service members were killed and 15 were wounded in the attack.  

"While we're saddened by the loss of life, both U.S. and Afghan, we're continuing to execute the mission," said McKenzie, adding that an extremist Islamic State group was behind the attack involving suicide bombers.

Afghans, U.S. citizens and others eager to leave the country had been flocking to Kabul's international airport after a Taliban takeover in the capital in mid-August when the Afghan military collapsed following withdrawal of U.S. troops and contractors.

Faith-based groups, including Catholic organizations, also have been calling on the Biden administration to speed up the evacuations.

The George W. Bush administration sent troops to Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York and Washington, trying to pin down al-Qaida militants who planned the attack, including Osama bin Laden, who was believed to be in and out of Afghanistan hiding with help from the Taliban.

U.S. troops remained there under previous administrations from both political parties and in October 2020, President Donald Trump tweeted that he would withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Christmas. Biden continued with the plan but with a different timeline. However, analysts have blamed all previous administrations– from George W. Bush to Biden – with the unfolding drama.