| 26 May 2024, Sunday |

Several rockets fired at Kabul airport as evacuation winds down

Multiple missiles were launched at Kabul’s international airport but were intercepted by a rocket defense system, a US official told Reuters citing initial information.

The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said as many as five rockets were fired, though it was not clear if all were brought down by the defense system.

US President Joe Biden confirmed the attack and said operations were not interrupted.

The sound of rockets whooshing over the capital was heard by AFP staff before the morning rush hour began.

A security official who worked in the administration toppled two weeks ago by the Taliban said the rockets had been fired from a vehicle in north Kabul.

The sound of the airport’s missile defense system could be heard by local residents, who also reported shrapnel falling into the street — suggesting at least one rocket had been intercepted.

Smoke could be seen rising above buildings in the north, where the Hamid Karzai International Airport is located.

Social media posts — which could not immediately be verified — also showed a vehicle on fire after being apparently struck by retaliatory fire.

An evacuation of foreigners and Afghans considered at risk of Taliban retribution for working with US-led forces for the last 20 years is in its finals stages and will officially end Tuesday when the last American troops pull out.

ISIS, rivals of the Taliban, poses the biggest threat to the withdrawal after carrying out a suicide bomb attack at the airport last week that claimed more than 100 lives, including 13 US troops.

US President Joe Biden had warned more attacks were highly likely, and the US said it carried out an air strike Sunday night in Kabul on an explosives-laden vehicle.

  • AFP
  • Reuters