Baron Hotel explosion: What made it a target in Kabul?

0

One of the two deadly blasts near Kabul’s airport Thursday happened near a hotel that has been used to process Afghans attempting to flee the Taliban’s oppressive regime.

The explosion occurred less than one mile from the airport at or near the 160-room Baron Hotel, the Pentagon said.

The US and other allied countries had urged Afghans to leave the area due to a threat by ISIS militants before the first explosion near the airport’s Abbey Gate, followed by the second attack at the hotel.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks that killed at least 13 people, but US officials strongly believe that the Afghan affiliate of Islamic State, known as Islamic State Khorasan or ISIS-K, was behind the bombings, a source told Reuters. 

Volunteers and medical staff bring an injured man for treatment after two powerful explosions today in Afghanistan.
WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images

What is the significance of the hotel?

The Baron Hotel has been a key site in the effort to evacuate Britons, Americans, and eligible Afghan citizens who have worked for British organizations.

Smoke rises from a deadly explosion outside the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday,
US officials strongly believe that the Afghan affiliate of Islamic State, known as Islamic State Khorasan or ISIS-K, was behind the bombing.
AP Photo/Wali Sabawoon

British diplomatic staffers have been using the hotel to process hundreds of visa applications every hour, as crowds of people desperate to flee gathered outside of the entrance, the Guardian reported.

The hotel’s website described the compound as “one of the most prestigious secured lodging projects in Kabul.”

What security features does the hotel have?

The hotel features a 13-foot-high perimeter wall and five guard towers, as well as security provided by a private company from the US.

Medical and hospital staff bring an injured man on a stretcher for treatment after two powerful explosions, which killed at least six people
The Baron Hotel has been a key site in the effort to evacuate Britons, Americans, and eligible Afghan citizens who have worked for British organizations.
WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images

It is situated near Camp Sullivan, which is a self-contained facility for the local guard force that provides protection to all official US facilities in the capital city, the Independent reported.

Thursday’s explosion was another setback to the chaotic evacuation efforts, which have been underway since the day before Taliban forces captured Kabul on Aug. 15.

Satellite image shows Kabul International Airport and the location of an explosion near the Abbey Gate.
Satellite image shows Kabul International Airport and the location of an explosion near the Abbey Gate.
AP

The US has been racing to complete its airlift before its military is set to fully withdraw from the country on Aug. 31.

Pre-Explosion Maxar Satellite Imagery of Abbey Gate
Abbey Gate is seen from a satellite view prior to the explosion.
Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies

With Post wires

View original post