As many as five rockets were fired at the Kabul airport but were intercepted by a missile defence system on Monday, a day after the US carried out an airstrike on Sunday night in the Afghan capital on an explosives-laden vehicle, an American official told Reuters. . Rockets flew across the Afghan capital as the United States raced to complete its withdrawal from Afghanistan, with the evacuation of civilians all but over and terror attack fears high.
The rockets struck Monday morning in Kabul’s Salim Karwan neighborhood, witnesses said. Gunfire immediately followed the explosions but it wasn’t immediately clear who was firing. The official also told Reuters that initial reports did not indicate any US casualties but that information could change. US officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment. U.S. military cargo planes continued their evacuations at the airport after the rocket fire. US President Joe Biden has been briefed on the rocket attack at Kabul airport and “operations continue uninterrupted,” his press secretary Jen Psaki said early Monday. “The president was informed that operations continue uninterrupted at (Kabul airport) HKIA, and has reconfirmed his order that commanders redouble their efforts to prioritize doing whatever is necessary to protect our forces on the ground,” Psaki said in a statement. Biden has set a deadline of Tuesday to withdraw all US forces from Afghanistan, drawing to a close his nation’s longest military conflict, which began in retaliation for the September 11 attacks.
The return of the hardline Islamist Taliban movement, which was toppled in 2001 but took back power a fortnight ago, triggered an exodus of terrified people aboard US-led evacuation flights. On Sunday, a U.S. drone strike blew up a vehicle carrying “multiple suicide bombers” from Afghanistan’s Islamic State affiliate on Sunday before they could attack the ongoing military evacuation at Kabul’s international airport, American officials said.