Rockets were fired early Monday at the Kabul airport at the center of the United States’ military withdrawal from Afghanistan, a mission that is scheduled to be completed on Tuesday.
The White House said in a brief statement that national security adviser Jake Sullivan and Chief of Staff Ron Klain have briefed President Joe Biden on Monday’s rocket attack at Hamid Karzai International Airport.
“The president was informed that operations continue uninterrupted at HKIA, and has reconfirmed his order that commanders redouble their efforts to prioritize doing whatever is necessary to protect our forces on the ground,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.
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 attack targeted the airport, which has been the scene of chaos for two weeks since a mass exodus began from Afghanistan that followed the Taliban seizing control of the country earlier this month.
The U.S. military has been conducting airlifts of military personnel, citizens and Afghan civilians and has so far evacuated more than 100,000. Biden has stuck to the Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline.
Late Sunday, the State Department said in a statement the Taliban have promised that all foreign nationals and any Afghan citizens authorized to leave the country will be allowed to do so unimpeded.
Nearly 100 countries have committing to ensuring the safe exit of all of their citizens, employees, at-risk Afghans and those who worked with them during the 20-year war.
“We will continue issuing travel documentation to designate Afghans, and we have the clear expectation of and commitment from the Taliban that they can travel to our respective countries,” the statement said.
Hours earlier, the a U.S. drone strike targeted a suspected car bomb in Kabul believed to be loaded down with explosives near the airport. The strike came days after 13 American troops and close to 200 Afghans were killed in two suicide bombings at the airport.
The Islamic State-Khorasan, IS-K, claimed responsibility for both attacks. The group is an Afghanistan offshoot of the Islamic State terror group and a rival group to the Taliban.
Late Sunday, U.S. Central Command spokesman Capt. Bill Urban said that the military was aware of reports of casualties from the drone strike and that powerful explosions that followed indicated the vehicle was carrying a large amount of bomb material.
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