Several rockets that were fired early today at the Kabul airport landed in a nearby neighborhood on the penultimate day of US troops completing their withdrawal from their longest war, after the Taliban reconquered Afghanistan.
A senior security official who worked in the overthrown government two weeks ago said the rockets had been fired from a vehicle in northern Kabul, where the air terminal is located, the AFP news agency reported.
Nearby residents reported hearing the sound of the missile defense system activating and seeing subsequent shrapnel falling from the sky, indicating that at least one rocket was intercepted.
In the Chahr-e-Shaheed neighborhood, where the shells landed, groups formed around the wreckage of a car used by the attackers, which appeared to have six rocket launcher tubes in place of the back seat.
The Islamic State (IS) and insurgent groups often place these tubes in vehicles to transport them undetected and approach a target.
The White House confirmed the attack and assured that the evacuation continued without interruption.
US President Joe Biden set tomorrow, Tuesday, August 31, as the deadline to withdraw his forces from Afghanistan and complete two decades of a military operation that began in retaliation for the attacks of 9/11 in 2001.
But US troops are now more focused on their own departure and that of his country’s diplomats: “The president reconfirmed the order that commanders redouble their efforts to do whatever is necessary to protect our forces on the ground.” the White House said in a statement.
The return of the Islamist movement of the Taliban to power triggered an exodus of terrified Afghans trying to flee thanks to a huge airlift led by Washington.
Successive scenes of chaos have been taking place at the airport in the two weeks since the rapid offensive in which the Taliban took control of the country.
But since the suicide attack, the Taliban have restricted their security perimeter around the airport and deployed fighters to the last fence that separates them from the runway.
The Islamic State of Khorasan (IS-K) group, rival of the Taliban, poses a major threat in this final stretch, as demonstrated by the suicide attack on the airport on Thursday that claimed more than 100 lives, including 13 soldiers. Americans.
Biden warned of the high probability of new attacks and, in fact, the US military yesterday carried out an airstrike on a car loaded with explosives in Kabul.
A Taliban spokesperson confirmed the incident, noting that a car bomb targeting the airport had been destroyed and that an alleged second attack had hit a nearby house.
Throughout the war, the United States has been accused of killing civilians in its airstrikes, one of the reasons that led them to lose local support. The same could have happened yesterday.
“We are aware of reports of civilian casualties following our attack on a vehicle in Kabul today,” Captain Bill Urban, a spokesman for the US Military Central Command, said in a statement.
According to Urban, the explosions were “powerful” and the army is studying whether there were civilian deaths. “We would be deeply saddened by any loss of innocent life,” he said.
In recent years, ISIS-K (or ISIS-K) carried out some of the worst attacks in these countries, massacring civilians in mosques, squares, schools and hospitals.
Although both are radical Sunnis (Taliban and ISK), they maintain a deep enmity and both claim to be the true standard bearers of jihad. (Télam)