NBC News: “The White House said its evacuation effort was continuing ‘uninterrupted’ despite the rockets.”
The U.S. troops deployed to evacuate remaining U.S. diplomats and citizens from Kabul have come under repeated rocket fire.
At least five rockets were fired at the Kabul airport as the U.S. military tries to airlift the remaining embassy staff and stranded Americans out of the Taliban-controlled country ahead of Tuesday’s deadline. “Rockets target US troops as core diplomats fly out of Kabul,” the Reuters news agency reported on Monday morning.
Despite substantial damage, the rocket fire has not resulted in any American casualties so far, the U.S. officials say. “Smoke could be seen rising above buildings in the north of the city, where the Hamid Karzai international airport is located, and gunfire could be heard after the explosions,” British newspaper The Guardian confirmed.
The sustained rocket fire comes after Thursday’s suicide bombing outside the Kabul international airport that killed 13 U.S. soldiers — including 10 Marines — and 169 Afghan civilians. The Islamic State (ISIS) in Afghanistan took responsibility for that bombing and today’s rockets attacks. This is the first major terrorist operation by the jihadist group since its Syria-based caliphate was destroyed in 2017.
The Associated Press reported today’s attack on U.S. troops:
Rocket fire apparently targeting Kabul’s international airport struck a nearby neighborhood on Monday, the eve of the deadline for U.S. 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. Afghanistan’s IS affiliate launched a devastating suicide bombing Thursday at one of the airport gates that killed at least 169 Afghans and 13 U.S. service members. (…)
Some of the rockets landed across town in the Salim Karwan neighborhood, striking residential apartment blocks, witnesses said. That neighborhood is some 3 kilometers (less than 2 miles) from the airport. There were no immediate reports of injuries.
Five rockets targeted the airport, said Navy Capt. Bill Urban, a spokesman for the U.S. military’s Central Command. A defensive weapon known by the acronym C-RAM — a Counter-Rocket, Artillery and Mortar System — targeted the rockets in a whirling hail of ammunition, Urban said. The system has a distinct, drill-like sound that echoed through the city at the time of the attack.
The Biden White House acknowledged the deteriorating security situation at the airport and vowed to carry on with the evacuation as the August 31 deadline approaches. “The White House said its evacuation effort was continuing “uninterrupted” despite the rockets, with a steady stream of U.S. military C-17 cargo jets taking off and landing at the airport,” the NBC News reported Monday morning.
While the airlifts are coming to a halt, the Pentagon is unsure how many Americans are still trapped in Afghanistan.
Biden Pentagon Spokesman John Kirby still doesn't know how many Americans are stranded in Afghanistan. pic.twitter.com/qDBK77Q8Hr
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) August 30, 2021
The Taliban-ISIS Nexus
While the Taliban denies any involvement in the ongoing attacks on U.S. soldiers in Kabul airport, the reality on the grounds paints a different picture. The Taliban is in control of the area that ISIS is supposedly using to stage these attacks. Taliban fighters are handling check posts on all roads leading to the airport.
While the mainstream media is buying into the Taliban’s narrative that ISIS is its bitter rival and enemy, the big news outlets have failed to mention that the Taliban freed all top ISIS leaders and foot soldiers as it emptied Afghan detention centers and jails. At least 5,000 high-profile terrorists, including those belonging to ISIS and al Qaeda, were free by the Taliban overran the terrorist detention center in Bagram airbase. Around 5,000 more jihadis were released from the Afghan national prison.
ISIS and the Taliban are not only united in their global Islamist aims, but they also have a history of working together.
Amrullah Saleh, deposed Afghan vice president and former head of the countries intelligence, talked of operational ties between the ISIS and Taliban’s al Qaeda-linked Haqqani network. “Every evidence we have in hand shows that IS-K cells have their roots in Talibs [and al Qaeda-linked] Haqqani network particularly the ones operating in Kabul,” Saleh tweeted last Friday.
Interestingly, the Haqqani network is now in charge of the ‘security in Kabul. After the Taliban captured the Afghan capital, Khalil Haqqani, who has a $5 million U.S. bounty on his head, was hand-picked as Kabul’s security chief.
Remains of U.S. Soldiers Return Home
On Sunday, the bodies of the U.S. service members killed in the Kabul terrorist attack arrived home. President Joe Biden was present as the military transport plane landed in Dover air force base in Delaware.
Reuters reported the solemn ceremony:
Biden, his wife, Jill, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and senior military officials stood somberly as U.S. troops carried the cases down the ramp of an Air Force C-17 aircraft at Dover Air Force Base. Crying could be heard and a woman collapsed as the remains were loaded into vans for transport to a facility where they will undergo identification and autopsies.
The 11 service members were among 13 U.S. troops killed in an Islamic State suicide attack on Thursday outside Kabul’s airport, where the United States has been staging a massive airlift of Americans and Afghans during the past two weeks. Scores of Afghans were also killed in the attack.
None of the fallen service members was over the age of 31, and five were just 20, as old as the war itself. Earlier on Sunday, Biden and his wife met with grieving family members of some of the fallen American service members.
The remains of two other U.S. service members killed in the attack are being brought home privately at the request of their families.
After Biden’s Afghanistan Debacle, EU Calls for ‘Common Defense Policy’
The European Union is using President Biden’s debacle in Afghanistan to renew its call for a unified military command. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell urged the EU member states to forge a standard defense policy. The European bloc should independently build capacity to deploy a large number of troops abroad, he said.
The German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported Borrell’s remarks:
In an interview published Monday, the European Union’s foreign policy chief Jossep Borrell told Italian paper Corriere della Sera the bloc needed to build a common defense policy.
Borrell noted that the US managed to deploy more troops to Afghanistan as soon as security deteriorated, but the EU could not.
“We need to draw lessons from this experience… as Europeans we have not been able to send 6,000 soldiers around the Kabul airport to secure the area. The US has been, we haven’t,” he said.
French President Marcon Emmanuel Macron has long proposed the creation of a European Army. “We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America,” he said in 2018. German Chancellor Angela Merkel backed the proposal, but infighting between the bloc members has prevented such a move.DONATE
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