Rockets fired at Kabul airport as U.S. Afghan withdrawal enters final stages

Rockets have been launched towards Kabul’s worldwide airport Monday morning as the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan entered what President Biden has mentioned will likely be its second-to-last day. There was no rapid phrase on who fired the projectiles.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki issued a press release saying Mr. Biden was briefed “on the rocket attack” and “was informed that operations continue uninterrupted at HKIA, and has reconfirmed his order that commanders redouble their efforts to prioritize doing whatever is necessary to protect our forces on the ground.”

Taliban fighters examine a broken automotive after a number of rockets have been fired in Kabul on August 30, 2021. Rockets flew throughout the Afghan capital as the U.S. raced to finish its withdrawal from Afghanistan, with the evacuation of civilians all however over and terror assault fears excessive.

WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP through Getty Images

The Associated Press cited witnesses as saying the rockets hit Kabul’s Salim Karwan neighborhood. Gunfire then broke out, however it wasn’t clear who was capturing, the AP mentioned.

The Reuters information service reported that as  many as 5 rockets have been fired however have been intercepted by a missile protection system, in keeping with a U.S. official.

There have been no preliminary stories of casualties.

Rocket launchers are seen inside a destroyed automobile in Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 30, 2021. Rockets struck a neighborhood close to Kabul’s worldwide airport amid the continuing U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. It wasn’t instantly clear who launched them.

Khwaja Tawfiq Sediqi / AP

The tried rocket assault got here the day after the U.S. performed an airstrike in opposition to an ISIS-Okay automobile laden with explosives close to the airport. It was the second such strike in opposition to the militant group since a lethal assault in opposition to U.S. forces final week.

Captain Bill Urban, a Central Command spokesman, mentioned in a press release that the strike was carried out by a drone and eradicated “an imminent ISIS-K threat” to Hamid Karzai International Airport. Urban mentioned the U.S. is assured the strike hit the goal, and preliminary stories indicated there have been no civilian casualties. 

But an Afghan official told The Associated Press three kids have been killed within the strike. Later on Sunday, Urban mentioned Central Command was conscious of the stories that civilians have been killed, and that they have been “still assessing the results of this strike.”

“We know that there were substantial and powerful subsequent explosions resulting from the destruction of the vehicle, indicating a large amount of explosive material inside that may have caused additional casualties,” Urban mentioned. “It is unclear what may have happened, and we are investigating further.”

A protection official advised CBS News there may be uncertainty over whether or not the strike destroyed a automotive bomb or killed a suicide bomber driving within the automotive. Initial stories indicated that the automotive was carrying a suicide bomber, however the measurement of the secondary explosion has satisfied some analysts that it was a completely loaded automotive bomb.

A protection official mentioned the strike was ordered after two males have been seen loading explosives into the trunk of a automotive. The automotive was hit by a Hellfire missile, which produced a small explosion adopted by a a lot bigger secondary explosion. 

Bilal Karimi, a senior support to the Taliban’s spokesman, mentioned the airstrike hit the automobile close to the airport. He mentioned three suspected people have been within the automobile at the time of the strike. Karimi mentioned the usmilitary had advised the Taliban {that a} automobile stuffed with explosives would arrive in Kabul and that the U.S. would destroy it.

Last week’s assault on the Abbey Gate at the Kabul airport left at least 170 useless, together with 13 U.S. service members. U.S. officers have mentioned a member of ISIS-Okay carried out the bombing, and vowed to retaliate in opposition to these accountable.

A U.S. airstrike on Friday, the primary because the assault, killed two “high-profile” ISIS-Okay planners and facilitators and wounded one other, in keeping with Pentagon officers. 

Sunday morning’s strike got here after the State Department issued an alert warning folks to not come to the airport due to a “specific, credible threat.” 

The operations in opposition to ISIS-Okay militants come as the U.S. rushes to evacuate Americans and Afghan allies from the town forward of President Biden’s withdrawal deadline of August 31. The White House mentioned the U.S. facilitated the evacuation of two,900 folks from the capital over a 24-hour interval starting Saturday morning, and have helped 114,000 folks depart since August 14.

Jake Sullivan, the White House nationwide safety adviser, advised “Face the Nation” on Sunday that the U.S. would proceed to go after the ISIS-Okay militants who orchestrated the assault at the airport.

“[The president] he also is going to talk to his commanders about whatever set of tools and capabilities they need to get the people who attacked and killed our troops at the Kabul airport and to make sure that we are degrading and debilitating the group, ISIS-K, that conducted this attack,” Sullivan mentioned. “So, yes, we will continue to take the kinds of over-the-horizon strikes like we did over the weekend against the ISIS-K facilitators and plotters. And, yes, we will consider other operations to go after these guys, to get them and to take them off the battlefield.”

Mr. Biden vowed to retaliate in opposition to those that facilitated Thursday’s lethal assault. 

“We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down, and make you pay,” he mentioned in remarks at the White House shortly after the blast.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby advised reporters on Saturday that there have been energetic threats in opposition to the airport, which have been “still very real” and “dynamic.” 

In a press briefing final week, General Frank McKenzie, the top of U.S. Central Command, mentioned the U.S. was intently monitoring the specter of a vehicular suicide bomb in a small automotive or a big truck.