Five rockets have reportedly been launched towards the Kabul airport, serving as the focal point of the US evacuation from Afghanistan. The missiles were shot down by an air defense system, media report, citing US officials.
Several rockets rained down on the area near the Kabul airport on Monday morning, Reuters reported, citing a US official, who said that missile defense systems were deployed to intercept the incoming projectiles.
Fox News national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin reported, citing a US defense official, that the Pentagon used The Counter-Rocket, Artillery, Mortar (C-RAM) missile system to repel the attack.
5 rockets were fired at Kabul Airport. US military employed C-RAM missile defense and there are no casualties: US defense official.
— Jennifer Griffin (@JenGriffinFNC) August 30, 2021
The White House confirmed the attack in a brief statement, insisting that the incident did not hinder the evacuation at the airport. US President Joe Biden has been briefed on the latest attack, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.
There have been no reports of US casualties at the time.
Videos purportedly showing aftermath of the blast have emerged online. Fire and thick black smoke can be seen billowing from the site. AP reported, citing eyewitnesses, that the rockets fell in the city’s Salim Karwan neighborhood. Shots reportedly rang out immediately after the blast.
— Ziar Khan Yaad (@ziaryaad) August 30, 2021
— ShamshadNews (@Shamshadnetwork) August 30, 2021
According to initial unconfirmed reports, the rockets were launched from a car in Khair Khana neighborhood in north west Kabul.
No group has so claimed responsibility for the attack, which comes as the US is racing against the clock to complete the evacuation of the US and Afghan allies from Kabul before the August 31 deadline. So far, more than 117,000 people have been flown out of the city, according to the US military. The evacuees are overwhelmingly Afghan refugees and Special Immigrant Visa applicants. Out of the total number of those airlifted, some 5,400 were American citizens.
The rocket attack comes just a day after the US struck a vehicle with alleged would-be suicide bombers in the Afghan capital. The US military initially said that there was “no indication” that the strike targeting suspected Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K) militants resulted in civilian deaths. The US Central Command subsequently acknowledged, however, that the blast triggered by the explosives detonating on impact might have led to “additional casualties.”
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CNN reported that an entire family, including 6 children, perished in the US strike, while an Afghan official told media that at least three children have been killed.
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