The drone onslaught came aft a informing from President Biden that different violent onslaught astatine the Afghan capital’s airdrome was “highly likely.”
Aug. 29, 2021Updated 7:54 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON — A U.S. subject drone onslaught blew up a conveyance laden with explosives successful Kabul connected Sunday, Defense Department officials said, hours aft President Biden had warned that different violent onslaught against the Afghan capital’s airdrome was “highly likely.”
The strike, which came 2 days earlier Mr. Biden’s deadline to retreat from the country, eliminated an imminent menace to Hamid Karzai International Airport from the Islamic State Khorasan group, a spokesperson for U.S. Central Command said. The radical had claimed work for the suicide bombing astatine the airport connected Thursday that killed 13 American work members and arsenic galore arsenic 170 civilians.
“We are alert of reports of civilian casualties pursuing our onslaught connected a conveyance successful Kabul today,” said Capt. Bill Urban, the spokesperson for Central Command. “We cognize that determination were important and almighty consequent explosions resulting from the demolition of the vehicle, indicating a ample magnitude of explosive worldly wrong that whitethorn person caused further casualties. It is unclear what whitethorn person happened, and we are investigating further.”
He added, “We would beryllium profoundly saddened by immoderate imaginable nonaccomplishment of guiltless life.”
Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesperson for the Taliban, said that civilians had suffered casualties successful the onslaught and that a location had been targeted. “We are investigating the crushed of the airstrike and the nonstop fig of casualties,” helium said.
The onslaught followed a retaliatory strike connected Friday for the termination bombing, which was 1 of the deadliest successful the astir 2 decades since the U.S.-led penetration of Afghanistan. Earlier connected Sunday, the U.S. Embassy successful Kabul had said that determination was a “specific, credible threat” to the airdrome area. State Department officials person issued respective similar warnings successful caller days.
As American troops determination to implicit their withdrawal, the Pentagon has shifted its absorption from vetting and airlifting Afghan and American civilians to bringing its unit home. At the aforesaid time, U.S. quality sources are refining people sites for imaginable drone strikes connected suspected Islamic State militants, successful peculiar termination bombers aiming to onslaught the airport.
The onslaught connected Sunday, which was carried retired by an MQ-9 Reaper drone operating from a basal successful the United Arab Emirates, demonstrated the grade to which American quality officials person refined their people list, defence officials said. A Hellfire rocket fired from the Reaper deed the conveyance astir 2 miles from the airport, a subject authoritative said.
Based connected the secondary explosions aft the drone strike, the subject assessed that determination were 1 to 3 radical successful the conveyance wearing explosive vests. There whitethorn person been different explosives successful the car, making it a vehicle-borne weaponry itself, 2 defence officials said.
In the past 24 hours, the United States has evacuated astir 2,000 radical connected subject transport planes, including much than 100 American citizens. The subject determined that determination were inactive astir 250 Americans successful Kabul who had expressed a tendency to leave.
Jake Sullivan, the nationalist information adviser, speaking connected “Fox News Sunday,” said the fig of American citizens successful Kabul whitethorn beryllium person to 300. “There are immoderate radical who person chosen, truthful far, not to permission and that is their right,” helium said.
Understand the Taliban Takeover successful Afghanistan
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Who are the Taliban? The Taliban arose successful 1994 amid the turmoil that came aft the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan successful 1989. They utilized brutal nationalist punishments, including floggings, amputations and wide executions, to enforce their rules. Here’s much connected their root communicative and their grounds arsenic rulers.
“They are not going to beryllium stuck successful Afghanistan” aft Tuesday, Mr. Sullivan added. “We are going to guarantee that we person a mechanics to get them retired of the state should they take successful the aboriginal to travel home.”
Military officials said that they had nary denotation that Mr. Biden would inquire the subject to enactment past Tuesday to get much Americans oregon susceptible Afghans retired of the country.
But the drone onslaught connected Sunday demonstrated however unsafe the past 2 days successful America’s 20-year warfare would be, defence officials acknowledged. The onslaught follows the 1 connected Friday connected a conveyance successful Nangarhar Province, adjacent the Pakistan border, which the Pentagon property secretary, John F. Kirby, said killed 2 “high-profile” Islamic State militants — 1 a “planner” and 1 a “facilitator.”