Washington — A U.S. military drone strike blew up an explosive-laden vehicle in Kabul on Sunday, Pentagon officials said. A few hours after warning “is high”.
The strike, which took place two days before Mr. Biden’s withdrawal from the country, eliminated the imminent threat from Islamic State Korasan Group to Hamid Karzai International Airport, a U.S. central military spokesman said. The group claimed responsibility for a terrorist bombing at the airport on Thursday, killing 13 US military personnel and 170 civilians.
Spokesman Captain Bill Urban said Central Command was aware of reports of civilian casualties after the strike on Sunday.
“We know that there was a substantial and powerful subsequent explosion resulting from the destruction of the vehicle. It is possible that there was a large amount of explosives inside, which caused additional casualties. It shows that there is, “he said. “It’s unclear what happened and we’re investigating further.”
“We will be deeply saddened by the potential loss of innocent lives,” he added.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the strike killed civilians and targeted homes. “We are investigating the reasons for the airstrikes and the exact number of casualties,” he said.
The strike followed Friday’s retaliatory strike against the suicide bomber, which was one of the deadliest in almost 20 years since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan. Earlier on Sunday, the US Embassy in Kabul said there was a “specific, credible threat” in the airport area. State Department officials recently issued several similar warnings.
U.S. officials said the military used a counter-rocket system to shoot down rockets after five shots were targeted at Kabul Airport on Monday. There were no initial reports of casualties and the airport remained open, officials who discussed operational details on condition of anonymity.
As US troops moved to complete the withdrawal, the Pentagon shifted its focus from the investigation and airlift of Afghan and American civilians to their return home. At the same time, US intelligence is improving target sites for potential drone attacks on Islamic State militants, especially suicide bombers aimed at attacking airports.
A Sunday strike by the MQ-9 Reaper drone operating from a UAE base showed the extent to which US intelligence officials refined their target list, defense officials said. A Hellfire missile launched by the Reaper collided with a vehicle about two miles from the airport, military officials said.
Based on the secondary explosion after the drone attack, the military estimated that there were one to three people in the vehicle wearing explosive vests. There may have been other explosives in the car, which itself is a vehicle-mounted bomb, two defense officials said.
Understand the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan
Who is the Taliban? The Taliban occurred in 1994 in the turmoil after the Soviet troops withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989. They enforced the rules with brutal public punishments such as whiplash, cutting and mass slaughter. Here we will elaborate on the story of their origin and their record as ruler.
In the last 24 hours, the United States has evacuated approximately 2,000 people, including more than 100 American citizens, on military transport. The military determined that there were about 250 Americans in Kabul who still expressed their desire to leave.
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said in Fox News Sunday that Kabul’s number of Americans could be close to 300. ,” He said.
“They won’t get stuck in Afghanistan,” Sullivan added after Tuesday. “We will definitely have a mechanism to take them out of the country if they choose to return home in the future.”
Military officials said there were no signs that Mr Biden would stay past Tuesday and ask the military to take more Americans or vulnerable Afghans out of the country.
But Sunday’s drone strike showed how dangerous the last two days of the US 20-year war were, defense officials admitted. Following the strike on Friday in Nangarhar, near the Pakistani border, Pentagon spokesman John F. Kirby said he had killed two “prominent” Islamic State militants. “Facilitator.”