The White House on Monday said President Biden was briefed overnight about an attempted rocket attack on Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul.
The U.S. reportedly shot down up to five rockets targeting the airport as the military races against a Tuesday deadline to withdraw from Afghanistan. The incident came one day after U.S. forces used a drone to take out a vehicle full of explosives, although the resulting blast killed 10 civilians, including several children, members of the affected family told multiple outlets.
The string of incidents raised more questions about the U.S. withdrawal and underscored the chaos in the capital during the final days of America’s longest-ever war.
“The president was informed that operations continue uninterrupted at [the airport] and has reconfirmed his order that commanders redouble their efforts to prioritize doing whatever is necessary to protect our forces on the ground,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.
The late-night statement said National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Chief of Staff Ron Klain updated Mr. Biden on the rocket attack.
The White House said the U.S. military had evacuated an additional 1,200 people during the 24-hour period ending 3 a.m. Monday, bringing the total of relocated persons to 122,300.
U.S. military officials said they’re investigating reports of civilian casualties as a result of Sunday’s drone strike.
“We are still assessing the results of this strike, which we know disrupted an imminent ISIS-K threat to the airport,” U.S. Central Command spokesman Capt. Bill Urban said in a statement. “We know that there were substantial and powerful subsequent explosions resulting from the destruction of the vehicle, indicating a large amount of explosive material inside that may have caused additional casualties. It is unclear what may have happened, and we are investigating further.”
“We would be deeply saddened by any potential loss of innocent life,” Capt. Urban said.
• Ben Wolfgang contributed to this report.
• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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