During the ongoing US pullout from Afghanistan, rockets struck a neighborhood near Kabul’s international airport on Monday. It wasn’t evident who started them right away.
Witnesses say the rockets hit Kabul’s Salim Karwan neighborhood on Monday morning. The blasts were quickly followed by gunfire, but it was unclear who was firing.
Witnesses who requested anonymity for fear of retaliation said they heard three explosions and then saw a glow in the sky. The booms reportedly caused people to flee.
Requests for comment from US officials went unanswered right away. Following the rocket attack, military cargo planes from the United States continued to evacuate the airport.
In Washington, officials briefed President Joe Biden about the “rocket attack at Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA)” in Kabul, according to a statement from the White House.
“The president has been informed that activities at HKIA are continuing without interruption, and he has reiterated his directive that commanders’ priorities doing whatever is required to protect our personnel on the ground,” according to the statement.
According to American sources, a US drone strike on Sunday blew out a vehicle carrying “multiple suicide bombers” from Afghanistan’s Islamic State (IS) affiliate before they could target an ongoing military evacuation at Kabul’s international airport. The hit, according to an Afghan official, killed three youngsters.
By Tuesday, the US will be out of Afghanistan. By that time, the US will have completed a mammoth two-week airlift of over 114,000 Afghans and foreigners and will have withdrawn the rest of its forces, bringing an end to America’s longest war with the Taliban back in power.
On Sunday, the US State Department released a statement signed by more than a hundred countries, as well as NATO and the European Union, claiming that the Taliban had given them “assurances” that those having travel credentials would be free to leave the country. The Taliban have stated that once the US withdrawal is concluded on Tuesday and they take control of the airport, they will allow normal travel.
Afghans, on the other hand, remain concerned that the Taliban may revert to the brutal rule for which they were previously renowned. In the sweep across the country, there have been isolated claims of deaths and other violations.
An IS suicide strike outside the airport earlier this week killed at least 169 Afghans and 13 US service members. On Saturday, the US carried out a drone strike elsewhere in the nation, claiming to have killed two members of IS’ local affiliate in Afghanistan, which has previously fought the Taliban.