Afghanistan crisis: Rockets fired at Kabul airport, ISIS group claims attack

Associated PressUpdated: Monday, August 30, 2021, 10:54 PM IST
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Kabul: Rocket fire targeting Kabul's international airport struck a nearby neighbourhood on Monday, the eve of the deadline for US troops to withdraw from Afghanistan after 20 years of war. The Islamic State group claimed the attack, and there were no immediate reports of casualties.

The rockets did not halt the steady stream of U.S. military C-17 cargo jets taking off and landing at the airport.

The Islamic State group's affiliate in Afghanistan has claimed responsibility for Monday's rocket attack, saying it fired at least six Katyusha rockets at the airport in the Afghan capital. The rockets stuck 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 didn't provide further details.

Afghanistan's IS affiliate had launched a devastating suicide bombing on Thursday at one of the airport gates that killed at least 169 Afghans and 13 US service members.

The extremist group is far more radical than the Taliban, who seized power in Afghanistan earlier this month after capturing most of Afghanistan in a matter of days. The two groups have fought each other in the past, and the Taliban have pledged to not harbour terrorist groups.

The Taliban tightened their security cordon around the airfield after the attack, clearing away massive crowds of Afghans who were desperate to flee the country in the waning days of the US-led airlift. Taliban fighters are now stationed along a fence near the main runway.

In the capital's Chahr-e-Shaheed neighbourhood, a crowd quickly gathered around the remains of a four-door sedan used by the attackers. The car had what appeared to be six homemade rocket tubes mounted in place of back seats. The ISIS and other militant groups routinely mount such tubes into vehicles in order to move them undetected.

“I was inside the house with my children and other family members, suddenly there were some blasts,” said Jaiuddin Khan, who lives nearby. “We jumped into the house compound and lay on the ground.” Some of the rockets landed across town in the Salim Karwan neighbourhood, striking residential apartment blocks, witnesses said. That neighborhood is some 3 km from the airport. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

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