U.S. Marines provide assistance at an Evacuation Check Point (ECC) during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Afghanistan, Jan.
US Marines | Reuters
WASHINGTON – The United States launched a military strike on an ISIS-K target in Kabul on Sunday, a development that comes in the final days of a huge humanitarian evacuation mission.
“US forces launched an unmanned self-defense airstrike over the horizon on a vehicle in Kabul today to address an imminent ISIS-K threat to Hamad Karzai International Airport,” wrote US Central Command spokesman Navy Capt. Bill Urban in a statement.
“We are confident that we have successfully hit the target. Significant secondary explosions from the vehicle indicated the presence of a significant amount of explosive material,” he added.
There were no known civilian casualties after the attack.
The most recent attack follows a drone attack on Friday that killed two senior ISIS-K members believed to have been involved in planning attacks against US forces in Kabul. Army Major William Taylor said there were no known civilian casualties following the attack.
Friday’s strike came less than two days after a suicide bomber detonated an explosive near the gates of Kabul airport, killing 13 American soldiers.
The White House said Sunday that the president and first lady will meet with the families of the fallen and observe a dignified transfer of the remains at Dover Air Force Base.
A dignified transfer is a solemn process in which the remains of fallen soldiers are transported from an airplane to a waiting vehicle. A worthy transfer is carried out for every US soldier killed in action.
Read more about developments in Afghanistan:
Several international forums intend to meet on Monday to discuss various aspects of the situation in Afghanistan.
The United Nations Security Council is due to meet on Monday. The last time the entire UN Security Council met was on August 16, the day after the Taliban’s impressive takeover of the country.
The G-7 foreign ministers are also planning a virtual meeting with Turkey and Qatar, CNBC confirmed on Sunday with an official from the State Department.
Sunday’s strike came after President Joe Biden’s national security team warned the day before that an attack on Kabul airport was “very likely in the next 24-36 hours”.
“The situation on the ground remains extremely dangerous and the risk of terrorist attacks on the airport remains high,” President Joe Biden said in a statement on Saturday, adding that he instructed US commanders to “take all possible measures, to give priority to the protection of the armed forces ”. . “
Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, commander of U.S. Central Command, told reporters Thursday that ISIS will likely attempt to continue the attacks before the evacuations are complete.
“We believe that it is their desire to continue these attacks and we expect these attacks to continue,” the four-star general told reporters at the Pentagon, adding that the US has an “extremely active threat stream against the US Airfield “monitored.
McKenzie, who oversees US military operations in the area, said threats against Western forces and civilians at the airport ranged from gunshots to missiles to suicide bombings.
“So, at any time, there can be very, very real streams of threats that we would call tactical and imminent,” he said. McKenzie said he did not plan to call in additional US troops for the mission.
In the past 24 hours, Western forces with 41 military cargo planes evacuated 2,900 people from Kabul. Since the mass evacuations began on August 14, around 114,400 people have been flown out of Afghanistan.
Around 120,000 people have been evacuated since the end of July, including around 5,500 US citizens and their families.
A State Department spokesman said Saturday that about 250 Americans are still seeking evacuation.
“Our on-site team continues to coordinate the help for this group around the clock, taking into account the current security situation,” said the spokesman.
“We are also in regular contact with a group of around 280 people who have identified themselves as Americans in Afghanistan but are still undecided whether to leave the country or have told us that they do not want to leave,” the spokesman added.