US intercepts rocket targeting Kabul airport
The U.S. intercepted a rocket aimed at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on Monday, one day before evacuation operations in Afghanistan are scheduled to end, while three others struck outside the facility and one landed inside the perimeter with “no effect,” officials said.
“We assess that five rockets were in the air and went. Three landed off the airfield, were no effect. And C-RAM was able to affect and thwart the attack of one, and the other rocket landed with no effect to the mission or any danger to our personnel,” Army Maj. Gen. Hank Taylor told reporters at the Pentagon on Monday, referring to the Counter-Rocket, Artillery and Mortar system.
“The force protection C-RAM did work. It did engage and had effect on the one. And then one did land in an area, and it was not effective. … We intercepted one, and it was effective. The C-RAM was effective.”
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the rocket that landed inside the airport “had no effect whatsoever.”
An unidentified official told Reuters that initial reports have not indicated any casualties among U.S. forces.
According to the White House, President Biden was briefed on the incident by national security adviser Jake Sullivan and chief of staff Ron Klain.
“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,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.
The rocket attack comes one day after a U.S. drone struck a vehicle loaded with explosives that was headed to the Kabul airport and less than a week after a suicide bomber attacked the site.
U.S. Navy Capt. Bill Urban said on Sunday that striking the vehicle eliminated “an imminent ISIS-K threat” and that “significant secondary explosions from the vehicle indicated the presence of a substantial amount of explosive material.”
Another rocket attack on Sunday reportedly killed a child.
The U.S. on Saturday on warned Americans near the airport to leave due to a “specific, credible threat.” Biden late Saturday also said another attack in Kabul was “highly likely.”
–Updated at 11:29 a.m.