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What The Kabul Airport And Nearby Hospitals Look Like

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

It has been a horrific day in Afghanistan.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

ISIS suicide bombers and gunmen targeted crowds outside Kabul's Hamid Karzai Airport. At least 13 U.S. service members and dozens of Afghan civilians are dead.

KELLY: Dozens more were hurt, as I learned from Al Jazeera correspondent Ali Latifi. We reached him on the phone in Kabul after he had gone to see a hospital where many of the wounded are being treated.

ALI LATIFI: You just saw - you know, 'cause you could only stand by the front of the gate of the hospital, so you just saw dozens of people, you know, waiting to hear from their families, trying to figure out what happened. You know, I talked to one young man who basically said, I just got a call to come to the emergency hospital. Something happened to your cousin at the airport. And he asked me - he said, what happened at the airport? I said, there was a bombing. And he was like, oh. His cousin was one of the people - one of the thousands and thousands of people who had been going - waiting to try and get into the airport in hopes of getting out of the country.

KELLY: Do we know what this means for the evacuation effort? Can flights take off?

LATIFI: Well, the Germans finished their evacuation. The U.K. was scheduled to finish theirs today. And, you know, people familiar with the situation said that the U.S. would have likely tried to finish their evacuation tomorrow, on Friday, ahead of the August 31 withdrawal date. And the truth is that people were being told, don't come unless you have a foreign passport or a green card because you won't get in anyway. The Taliban were instructed by the U.S. to turn anyone away. The Taliban, of course, took that as a cue to be more hostile towards people who didn't seem to have the proper documentation. The entire intention of the evacuation was still getting their own citizens out.

CORNISH: Ali Latifi, Kabul correspondent for Al Jazeera, on the line with us from Kabul.

Thank you very much for sharing some of your reporting today.

LATIFI: Thank you. Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.