American forces launched a military strike in Kabul on Sunday targeting a suspected suicide car bomber that was aiming to attack the airport, US officials said.
The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the strike targeted suspected Islamic State group-Khorasan (IS-K) militants, a group that is an enemy of both the West and the Taliban, and was responsible for a suicide bomb attack outside the airport gates on Thursday.
The attack by IS-K, a branch of the Islamic State (IS) group, killed at least 90 Afghans and 13 American troops as a huge evacuation operation was underway following the Taliban’s seizure of Kabul on August 15.
Reporting from Kabul, FRANCE 24’s Cyril Payen said the strike appeared to have occurred in area just north of the Kabul military airport.
“It was a very, very big blast,” he said, adding that the Taliban had also confirmed it was a US air strike. Indeed what exactly happened is far from clear.
“The suicide bomber was in a [bomb-laden] car, meaning the explosive charge would have been enormous,” Payen said.
Two witnesses said the blast appeared to have been caused by a rocket that hit a house in an area to the northern side of the airport but there was no immediate confirmation.
The US strike took place while about 1,000 civilians waited at the airport to be flown out before the last troops leave, a Western security official told Reuters.
“We want to ensure that every foreign civilian and those who are at risk are evacuated today. Forces will start flying out once this process is over,” the official said.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)