US strikes vehicle loaded with explosives headed to Kabul airport

Editor’s note: The Pentagon has since confirmed that it mistook a civilian vehicle for an ISIS-K threat when it launched the drone strike on Aug. 29 in Kabul that killed 10 civilians and has launched a review. The Hill’s original file appears below.

A drone strike by the U.S. on Sunday targeted a vehicle in Kabul loaded with explosives that officials said posed an imminent threat to the airport amid the final days of a massive military evacuation effort of Americans and allies from Afghanistan.

U.S. Navy Capt. Bill Urban said in a statement that the airstrike eliminated “an imminent ISIS-K threat” to the Hamid Karzai International Airport, referring to the Islamic State faction in Afghanistan.

Urban called the strike an act of “self-defense” and said military officials were still assessing the possibility of any civilian casualties. 

“We are confident we successfully hit the target,” Urban said. “Significant secondary explosions from the vehicle indicated the presence of a substantial amount of explosive material.”

The Associated Press reported earlier Sunday that “multiple suicide bombers” had been targeted in a vehicle that was headed to the airport.

It was the second U.S. military strike in Afghanistan since a suicide bomber killed 13 U.S. service members and dozens of Afghans Thursday at an airport gate, which officials blamed on ISIS-K.

On Saturday, officials said two ISIS-K members were killed in a U.S. airstrike in the Nangarhar province.

A rocket attack that killed a child was also reported early Sunday in a neighborhood northwest of the airport, according to an Afghan police chief.

Updated on Sept. 21 at 9:30 a.m.


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