A U.S. drone strike on Sunday targeted an “imminent ISIS-K threat” to the airport in Kabul, where officials have warned of additional attacks following a suicide bombing last week.
The military confirmed the airstrike on Sunday after multiple news organizations reported an explosion in a residential neighborhood near the airport.
It was the second known airstrike against ISIS-K terrorists since a suicide bomber on Thursday killed 13 U.S. service members and more than 169 Afghans near a gate to the Kabul airport.
President Joe Biden was to meet Sunday at Dover Air Force Base with the families of U.S. service members killed in the attack.
A U.S. official said the airstrike Sunday hit a vehicle that included a suicide bomber.
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul had warned of a “specific credible threat” and urged those hoping to evacuate to leave the airport. President Joe Biden said Saturday the Kabul airport was “highly likely” to be the target of another attack before the Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline.
A blast at the airport on Thursday killed 13 U.S. service members and more tha169 Afghans. A retaliatory U.S. drone strike on Friday killed two ISIS-K members.
At least one of the occupants of the vehicle targeted by a U.S. airstrike on Sunday was believed to be a suicide bomber, according to a U.S. official.
The military confirmed the drone strike Sunday, saying it was against an “imminent ISIS-K threat” to the airport in Kabul.
— Tom Vanden Brook
U.S. forces conducted a drone strike Sunday against an “imminent ISIS-K threat” to the airport in Kabul, the military said in a statement.
“We are confident we successfully hit the target,” said Navy Capt. Bill Urban, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command. “Significant secondary explosions from the vehicle indicated the presence of a substantial amount of explosive material.
There were no initial indications of civilians being killed in the strike, but the military continues to assess the aftermath, Urban said.
The strike came after President Joe Biden warned Saturday of an imminent attack on the airport where U.S. troops are completing the civilian evacuation and preparing a final retreat from the 20-year U.S. war there.
Defense officials had warned that ISIS-K terrorists had sought to use a vehicle packed with explosives to attack Hamid Karzai International Airport.
It is the second known airstrike on ISIS-K terrorists since a suicide bomber killed 13 American troops and more than 169 Afghans at the airport on Thursday. On Friday, a drone attack killed two ISIS-K militants who planned and facilitated attacks, according to the Pentagon.
— Tom Vanden Brook
KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban said that a U.S. airstrike targeted a suicide bomber in a vehicle Sunday who wanted to attack the Kabul international airport amid the American military’s evacuation there.
There were few initial details about the incident, as well as a rocket that struck a neighborhood just northwest of the airport, killing a child. The two strikes initially appeared to be separate incidents, though information on both remained scarce.
Citing an Afghan police chief, the Associated Press reported a rocket struck a neighborhood northwest of the airport, killing a child. Reuters reported the U.S. had carried out a strike in Kabul.
Zabihullah Mujahid said in a message to journalists that the strike targeted the bomber as he drove a vehicle loaded with explosives. Mujahid offered few other details.
U.S. military officials could not be immediately reached for comment.
The rocket attack meanwhile struck Kabul’s Khuwja Bughra neighborhood, said Rashid, the Kabul police chief who goes by one name. Video obtained by The Associated Press in the aftermath of the attack showed smoke rising from building at the site around a kilometer (half a mile) from the airport.
Check back for updates on this developing story.
— Associated Press
White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the number of Americans still waiting for evacuation from Afghanistan is now at 300 even as the operation remains a high-risk operation.
“We are in a period of serious danger given what we are seeing in the intelligence.,” Sullivan told CNN’s State of the Union Sunday. “We are taking every possible measure … to ensure that our forces are protected on the ground.”
The U.S faces a self-imposed deadline Tuesday to evacuate Americans who want to escape. Sullivan said some 300 were evacuated Saturday two days after a suicide bomber killed 13 U.S. service members.
— Ledyard King
The White House released the latest statistics on evacuations from the Kabul airport on Sunday.
In the 24 hours that ended at 3 a.m. Sunday, about 2,900 people were evacuated from Kabul. About 2,200 evacuees were aboard U.S. military flights, while 700 left on coalition flights.
The latest numbers brought the total evacuees since Aug. 14 to about 114,400 people.
— Rick Rouan
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden are scheduled on Sunday morning to meet with the families of American service members killed in a suicide bombing last week at the Kabul airport.
The Bidens are scheduled to participate in a “dignified transfer,” where slain service members are returned to the U.S., at noon Sunday at Dover Air Force Base.
The blast on Thursday killed 13 U.S. service members, including 11 Marines, one Navy corpsman and one Army soldier along with at least 169 Afghans.
— Rick Rouan