The final countdown to evacuate the remaining U.S. citizens and Afghan allies from Afghanistan is on, as President Joe Biden announced last week that he’ll stick to the Aug. 31 deadline to make it happen.
However, as the final hours approach, a fresh round of attacks on Hamid Karzai International Airport made headlines on Monday morning. As Fox News reported, unknown actors launched a rocket attack on the airport in Kabul, only to be intercepted by the U.S. military’s C-RAM missile defense system.
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
While no terrorist groups in the region have claimed responsibility for the rocket attacks, which were reportedly launched out of the back of a truck, it’s not a stretch to presume that it was likely led by ISIS-K or another terrorist faction wanting to disrupt the final hours of the U.S. pullout.
In addition, the attack failed to stop what Fox News described as a “steady stream” of U.S. C-17 aircraft taking off with loads of evacuees on Monday morning.
The attack came just hours after a U.S. drone strike was carried out against a vehicle that was said to have contained explosives and was en route to the airport to detonate. According to The New York Times, Afghans on the ground reported that the U.S. strike resulted in multiple civilian casualties, including the death of at least one child, and perhaps more.
U.S. officials didn’t elaborate but noted that they’re investigating the reports of civilian deaths.
“We are aware of reports of civilian casualties following our strike on a vehicle in Kabul today,” Bill Urban, the CentCom spokesman said. “We are still assessing the results of this strike.”
Most experts and government officials expect the remaining 24 hours in Kabul to be tense, as it’s likely that additional attacks will be launched against U.S. personnel and assets as a parting shot on their way out.