Kabul, Afghanistan-As the United States continues to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, rockets hit a community near Kabul International Airport. It is unclear who fired them.
Witnesses said the rocket hit the Salim Kavan community in Kabul. The gunfire followed the explosion, but it was not clear who was firing.
Witnesses who declined to be named due to fear of retaliation said they heard three explosions and then saw a flash of light in the sky. They said people fled after the explosion.
US officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment. After the rocket was launched, the US military cargo plane continued to evacuate from the airport.
In Washington, the White House issued a statement stating that officials briefed President Joe Biden on the “rocket attack at Hamid Karzai International Airport” in Kabul.
The statement said: “The President was informed that the operations at the Hong Kong International Airport continued uninterrupted and reiterated his order, requesting the commander to redouble his efforts and give priority to taking all necessary measures to protect our ground forces,” the statement said, using the initials of Kabul Airport. abbreviation.
U.S. officials said that on Sunday, a U.S. drone attack blew up a vehicle carrying “multiple suicide bombers” from affiliates of the Islamic State of Afghanistan before they could attack the ongoing military evacuation operation at Kabul International Airport. . An Afghan official said that three children were killed in the strike.
The United States will withdraw its troops from Afghanistan on Tuesday. By then, the United States will end the two-week large-scale airlift of more than 114,000 Afghans and foreigners, and withdraw the last force, ending the longest war between the United States and the Taliban to regain power.
The US State Department issued a statement signed by about 100 countries, NATO and the European Union on Sunday, stating that they have received “guarantees” from the Taliban that people with travel documents can still leave the country. The Taliban said they will allow normal travel after the United States completes its withdrawal and takes over the airport on Tuesday.
However, Afghans still fear that the Taliban will return to its once-known oppressive rule. There are sporadic reports of killings and other abuses occurring across the country.
Earlier this week, the Islamic State launched a suicide attack outside the airport, killing at least 169 Afghans and 13 American soldiers. The United States carried out a drone strike in other parts of the country on Saturday, claiming that it killed two members of the local branch of the Islamic State in Afghanistan, which had fought the Taliban in the past.
Associated Press writers Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Lou Kesten in Washington contributed to this report.