The Pentagon revealed, Monday morning, that at least five rockets were fired at Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA) as the final American evacuation flights were departing and one rocket landed inside airport grounds.
ISIS-K, the terrorist group reportedly behind last week’s suicide bombing attack in Kabul that left hundreds dead including 13 American service members, was also likely behind the rocket attacks, the Pentagon said, per Fox News.
“As many as five rockets were fired at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on Monday local time,” according to CNN, which spoke to a Biden administraiton official.
American forces intercepted the rockets, the official noted.
“The C-RAM defense system installed at the airport engaged with the rockets, the official said. There are no reports of any casualties at this time,” according to CNN. ‘C-RAM is an automated system that detects incoming attacks and uses a machine gun to destroy the incoming fire before it can hit its target. The system has been used in Iraq and Afghanistan to intercept and destroy incoming projectiles targeting US forces.”
“The US official said the rockets aimed at the airport were likely launched by ISIS-K but cautioned it was too early to know for sure,” CNN reported.
The outlet also had photos of the burned out husk of a vehicle with what appear to be rocket launcher tubes in the back, aimed out the back window: “The incinerated remnants of the car are covered with debris, the glass missing from all windows and rubber melted from the tires. The car appears to have been modified, with six large tubes visible inside the charred skeleton.”
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said Mondy that “one of the rockets fired at Kabul airport in an attack last night ‘landed inside the perimeter and had no effect whatsoever [on the mission],’” according to Fox News‘ national security reporter Jennifer Griffin.
The evacuation efforts from Kabul airport began slowing over the weekend. Yesterday, just 1,200 people were evacuated from Kabul, and it is not known how many Americans or Afghan allies remain — or whether any Americans or Afghan allies will be trapped after the U.S. military pulls out completely on Tuesday. Monday, the American diplomatic envoy for Kabul left on an evacuation flight, effectively ending visa and passport processing.
“Tuesday at 3:29 p.m. ET (11:59 p.m. local in Kabul) is the deadline for all U.S. troops and diplomats to be out of Afghanistan,” defense officials told Fox News. “The plan, as it stands now, is for all Americans to be out of Kabul by the end of President Biden’s Aug. 31 deadline. It will mark the first time in nearly 20 years that no U.S. troops will be on the ground in Afghanistan.”
Those who remain behind will face danger from ISIS-K but also likely from the Taliban. A retired Green Beret who rank a Kabul rescue mission called “Pineapple Express” that led to more than 500 people being pulled from behind enemy lines and evacuated on U.S. aircraft, claimed Monday that the Taliban is now turning back Americans, including a bus of 50 adults and children. The Taliban then reportedly fired on the bus.
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