Missile strike in residential area Kabul – child died American attack on suspected terrorists
The United States has launched an airstrike on suspected terrorists from the Afghan branch of Islamic State (IS-K) in the Afghan capital of Kabul. The IS-K fighters would have planned an attack on the airport near the city, anonymous US officials report. Eyewitnesses spoke of a US missile attack.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said two extremists had been killed. He would go no further than saying that they had been important “planners and facilitators” of IS-K. According to the Taliban, the new rulers in Afghanistan, the target of the attack was a possible suicide bomber in a vehicle.
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Two people, including a child, were killed in the impact into a residential complex. Three others were injured. That reports the AP news agency.
Images posted on social media show clouds of black smoke.
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The airport was the target of an attack earlier this week that left 170 people dead, according to unofficial sources. Thirteen American soldiers were also killed.
US President Joe Biden warned of new attacks after the airport massacre. The Americans have now started the final phase of their withdrawal from the country. It has been agreed with the new rulers, the Taliban, that they will leave Afghanistan by Tuesday (August 31).
15.45 – Afghanistan veterans gather to discuss tensions
Soldiers who have been on missions in Afghanistan gathered in Doorn on Sunday at the Dutch Veterans Institute to discuss the tensions caused by current developments in the country. Thirty men and women shared their own experiences in Afghanistan and discussed the crisis as most countries have withdrawn their military presence in the country. The institute will organize more meetings and also organize separate meetings for partners and children of veterans, according to Colonel Ludy de Vos, former director of the Veterans Institute and responsible for recognition and appreciation of veterans.
In recent weeks, the institute noticed that many veterans felt the need to find each other to talk. “This closed meeting fulfilled that need. Most people were talking to others about their mission within two minutes. Everyone felt comfortable among others who share the same feelings. We had deliberately not organized a program, so that there was as much time as possible for conversations,” says De Vos, who is also an Afghanistan veteran.
According to De Vos, it turned out on Sunday that “the home front” would also like to meet. “With all the news about Afghanistan, tensions are rising among some veterans. The home front has to do with that and that is not always easy. In any case, we will organize something online especially for them and there will also be a meeting.”
In the Netherlands, 0.6 percent of the population is veteran, according to De Vos. Some of them still work in the armed forces, others are retired or have later opted for a job outside the army.
04.57 – ‘Quiet around Kabul airport after US warning for attack’
The US embassy in Afghanistan on Sunday morning again called on Americans to stay away from the airport in Kabul because of a “specific, real threat.” An anonymous airport security official told Reuters news agency that groups of people at the airport gates have been shrinking since the latest warnings of a possible new terror attack.
According to him, about 1000 civilians at the airport still have to be evacuated by the Americans. In addition, according to The New York Times, 4,000 American military personnel are still present at the airport. On Saturday, a total of about 2,000 people were flown out of Kabul by Western forces. On Friday it was about 6800 people.
President Biden warned on Saturday of another attack at the airport in the Afghan capital Kabul. He said he is relying on US commanders who state that an attack is very likely in the next 24 to 36 hours.
An attack on Thursday at the airport claimed dozens of lives. At least thirteen American soldiers died, and according to unconfirmed reports 170 Afghans. The situation on the ground is extremely dangerous and the threat of terrorist attacks at the airport remains high, Biden said in a statement.
The president has ordered commanders to “take all possible measures” to protect US forces. They have all the authority, resources and plans to protect “our men and women,” Biden said. But the evacuations of civilians continue, despite “the treacherous situation in Kabul.”
Biden also announced new retaliatory attacks against the attackers, the Afghan branch of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group. “This battle was not the last,” the president said of the US drone attack on IS Khorasan early Saturday morning, which killed two leaders. “I said we would go after the group responsible for the attack on our troops and innocent civilians in Kabul, and we did. We will continue to track down every person involved in that horrific attack and make them pay.”
02.17 – France and Great Britain want ‘safe zone’ in Kabul
France and the United Kingdom want to establish a so-called ‘safe zone’ in the Afghan capital Kabul, from which humanitarian aid can continue under the protection of the United Nations. The two countries will table a resolution to that effect on Monday if there is an emergency meeting of the permanent members of the UN Security Council, French President Emmanuel Macron announced.
“This is very important. This would provide a framework for the United Nations to act in an emergency,” Macron told France’s Sunday newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche. According to the president, such a safe zone in Kabul also makes it possible for the international community to continue to put pressure on the radical Islamic Taliban, who have seized power in Afghanistan.
France ended its evacuation mission in Kabul on Friday. That of the United Kingdom came to an end on Saturday. Macron said earlier this weekend that talks are underway with the Taliban to “protect and repatriate” Afghans at risk if Americans also leave the country on Aug. 31. The French president hopes for the help of Qatar, which maintains good ties with the Taliban.
00.28 – Last British soldiers left Afghanistan
The last British soldiers in Afghanistan have left the country, the Ministry of Defense reports. This ended the United Kingdom’s 20-year military presence in Afghanistan. More than 450 British soldiers were killed in Afghanistan during that period. Earlier on Saturday, the British evacuation operation from Kabul airport was already terminated.
“20 years ago, in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks (2001), the first British soldier set foot on Afghan soil to create a better future for the country and all its people,” Sky News said of Prime Minister Boris Johnson. “The departure of the last British soldiers from the country is a moment to reflect on all that we have sacrificed and all that we have achieved over the past two decades. The nature of our engagement with Afghanistan may have changed, but our goals for the country have not.”
The British ambassador to Afghanistan and the embassy team will temporarily continue their work from Qatar. The British government has announced that the diplomatic presence in Kabul will be restored as soon as it is safe enough and the political situation in the country permits.
Britain has evacuated nearly 15,000 people from the Taliban-occupied capital in two weeks. Still, the British failed to get rid of everyone who wanted to. On Friday, the defense spoke of between 800 and 1,100 Afghans who are allowed to come to Britain, but are stuck in the Asian country. Also 100 to 150 Britons had not yet been evacuated. More than a thousand British soldiers were at the height of the evacuations in Kabul to arrange the mass exodus.
The Americans have also started the final phase of their withdrawal from Afghanistan. It is the intention that the soldiers have left before August 31 (next Tuesday). Only the airport is still in the hands of the Americans.
Welcome to the live blog of Sunday 29 August. View yesterday’s blog here.