U.S. Official: Bomber Carried Unusually Large Explosive Pack

Afghans lie on beds at a hospital after they were wounded in the deadly attacks outside the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, Aug. 27, 2021. Two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of Afghans flocking to Kabul's airport Thursday, transforming a scene of desperation into one of horror in the waning days of an airlift for those fleeing the Taliban takeover. (AP Photo/Wali Sabawoon)

WASHINGTON — The suicide bomber who killed as many as 169 Afghans and 13 U.S. service members at the Kabul airport carried about 25 pounds of explosives, loaded with shrapnel, a U.S. official said Friday.

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The massive amount of explosives and spray of shrapnel created such a large blast that it killed U.S. troops who were inside the airport gate as well as troops and Afghans outside, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss preliminary assessments of the bombing.

A more routine suicide bomber will often carry from five to 10 pounds of explosives.

According to officials, the bomber got to within several yards of the Kabul airport gate, where Afghans were crowded in as part of the ongoing chaotic evacuation from Afghanistan.

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