The United States carried out a military strike on Sunday in Kabul, which reportedly eliminated an ISIS-K suicide bomber travelling to the airport. A child was also killed in the strike.
US President Joe Biden had indicated earlier that that commanders had informed an attack was 'highly likely' in 24-36 hours. Following the warning, the US Embassy ordered all its staff to leave the airport.
Two witnesses said the blast appeared to have been caused by a rocket that struck a house in an area close to the airport. According to US sources, the explosives in the car carrying the ISIS operative detonated and decimated the home.
Meanwhile, the evacuation of Kabul is entering its final hours ahead of Biden's Tuesday deadline. The last British troops stationed in Afghanistan, too, landed in Oxfordshire on Sunday morning. UK ambassador to Afghanistan Sir Laurie Bristow arrived on one of the last flights back. The UK government said Taliban had given assurances that fleeing Afghans would be given safe passage after the deadline.
The US and coalition forces have handed over the control of three gates, including the entrance to the military section, of the Kabul airport, to the Taliban, an official of the group told local media on Sunday. "The US troops are in control of a small part of the airport, including an area where the radar system of the airport is located," Xinhua news agency.
FOLK SINGER KILLED: A Taliban fighter shot dead an Afghan folk singer in a restive mountain province under unclear circumstances, his family said. The killing reignited concerns among activists that the insurgents would return to their oppressive rule in the country after their military blitz.
The slaying of Fawad Andarabi comes as the United States winds down a historic airlift. The valley where he lived had seen upheaval since the Taliban takeover, with some districts in the area coming under the control of militia fighters opposed to the Taliban rule. The Taliban say they have since retaken those areas, though neighbouring Panjshir in the Hindu Kush mountains remains the only one of Afghanistan's 34 provinces not under its control.
The Taliban searched Andarabi’s home and searched it, even drinking tea with the musician, his son Jawad Andarabi told The Associated Press. But something changed Friday. “He was innocent, a singer who only was entertaining people,” his son said. “They shot him in the head on the farm.”
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told the AP that the insurgents would investigate the incident but had no other details on the killing.
Andarabi played the ghichak, a bowed lute, and sang traditional songs about his birthplace, his people and Afghanistan as a whole. A video online showed him at one performance, sitting on a rug with the mountains of home surrounding him as he sang. “There is no country in the world like my homeland, a proud nation,” he sang. “Our beautiful valley, our great-grandparents’ homeland."