The Khorasan Province affiliate of Isis in Afghanistan has claimed responsibility for today’s rocket attack in Kabul, saying it fired at least six Katyusha rockets at the airport in the Afghan capital. The rockets hit a neighbourhood close to the Kabul airport. The claim of responsibility was carried by the militant group’s media arm, the Aamaq news agency. It did not provide further details.
Defence forces of the US said five rockets had targeted the airport on 30 August morning and that US forces on the airfield used a defensive system to intercept them.
The attack did not halt the steady stream of US military C-17 cargo jets taking off and landing at Hamid Karzai International Airport.
It was the latest attack by the militants. Isis-K launched a devastating suicide bombing Thursday at one of the airport gates that killed at least 169 Afghans and 13 US service members.
Meanwhile, after a US drone strike in targeting Isis-K killed 10, media outlets fell over one another to claim they were civilians of ages two to 40 years old. The US said, however, that the strike had targeted ISKP (aka Isis-K) suicide bombers intending to attack Kabul airport.
Isis-K’s mouthpiece Nasher News said on its Telegram channel that the group had fired six Katyusha rockets at the airport.
President Joe Biden has set a deadline of tomorrow to withdraw all US forces from Afghanistan, drawing to a close his nation’s longest military conflict, which began in retaliation for the 11 September attacks.
The Islamic State-Khorasan group, rivals of the Taliban, pose the biggest threat to the withdrawal, after carrying out a suicide bombing outside the airport late last week that claimed more than 100 lives, including those of 13 US troops.
The US meanwhile said it had carried out an airstrike on 29 August night in Kabul on an IS-prepared car bomb.
The White House confirmed there had been a rocket attack directed at the airport, but said airlift operations there were “uninterrupted”.
“The President… has reconfirmed his order that commanders redouble their efforts to prioritise doing whatever is necessary to protect our forces on the ground,” the White House statement said.
An AFP photographer on 30 August took images of a destroyed car with a launcher system still visible in the back seat.
A Taliban official at the scene said he believed five rockets had been fired.
A suspected US drone strike had hit the car, about 2 km from the airport.
While there were no reports of fatalities or airport damage from the rocket attacks, they caused greater anxiety for locals already traumatised by years of war.