Five rockets fired on Kabul’s airport late Sunday; US C-RAM missile defense system intercepts

Five rockets were fired late Sunday toward Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, and were intercepted by a U.S. anti-missile system.

With two days remaining before President Biden’s arbitrary deadline for the U.S. military to be out of the Central Asian country, just hours after a vehicle reportedly carrying suicide bombers heading toward the airport was blown up, a rocket attack was launched. The rockets were reportedly mounted on the back of a vehicle.

Clearly, warnings issued by President Joe Biden against those looking to cause additional harm after Thursday’s bombings that killed 13 U.S. servicemembers are having little impact on those intent on doing the U.S. harm.

A U.S. defense official told Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin that the attack was intercepted by the U.S.’s C-RAM missile defense system. The official said there were no reported casualties.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki released a statement, saying Biden has been briefed on the latest attack by top aides.

“National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Chief of Staff Ron Klain have briefed the President on the rocket attack at Hamid Karzai International Airport. The President was informed that operations continue uninterrupted at HKIA, and has reconfirmed his order that commanders redouble their efforts to prioritize doing whatever is necessary to protect our forces on the ground,” the statement said.

There was video footage purportedly of the rocket strikes making the rounds online:

Earlier in the day, a U.S. drone strike blew up a vehicle that was said to be carrying “multiple suicide bombers” from Afghanistan’s Islamic State affiliate, who were on their way toward Kabul’s airport.

U.S. officials told Reuters on condition of anonymity that the terrorist suspects in the vehicle were with ISIS-K, the group that claimed responsibility for Thursday’s deadly attack that also killed 169 Afghan civilians.

There were initial reports that a child was killed in that strike, and subsequent reports that nine members of an Afghan family were killed, including 6 children.

A spokesperson for US Central Command referenced secondary explosions after the  strike, saying “powerful subsequent explosions resulting from the destruction of the vehicle, indicating a large amount of explosive material inside that may have caused additional casualties,” according to CNN.

“We are aware of reports of civilian casualties following our strike on a vehicle in Kabul today,” Capt. Bill Urban, spokesperson for US Central Command, said in a statement. “We would be deeply saddened by any potential loss of innocent life.”

CBS News investigative reporter Catherine Herridge tweeted the following statement from a U.S. military official: “We are confident we hit the target we were aiming for. Initial reports indicate there were no civilian  casualties caused by our air strike. Significant secondary explosions from vehicle indicated the presence of a substantial amount of explosive material.”

Meanwhile, the Taliban condemned the drone strike, saying the United States had violated Afghanistan’s sovereignty.

Spokesman Bilal Kareemi told CNN that it was “not right to conduct operations on others’ soil” and that the Taliban should have been informed of the strike.

“Whenever the US conducts such operations, we condemn them,” Kareemi said.

The State Department has acknowledged that there are around 300 Americans still in Kabul and with Tuesday’s deadline almost here, it’s almost certain that some will be left behind and that the Biden administration is relying on the Taliban to allow them to leave on their own.

“The U.S. State Department released a statement signed by around 100 countries, as well as NATO and the European Union, saying they had received ‘assurances’ from the Taliban that people with travel documents would still be able to leave the country. The Taliban have said they will allow normal travel after the U.S. withdrawal is completed on Tuesday and they assume control of the airport,” Fox News reported.

Tom Tillison

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