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The United States carried out air strikes on Sunday to protect the evacuation from Kabul, as the Biden administration and its European allies pledged to help people leave Afghanistan after the withdrawal deadline on Tuesday.
U.S. Central Command spokesperson Captain Bill Urban said: “The U.S. military carried out a self-defense unmanned over-the-horizon airstrike on a car in Kabul today, eliminating the imminent threat of ISIS-K to Hamad Karzai International Airport. “To the local branch of the Islamic terrorist organization.
“We are confident that we will succeed in achieving our goal. The major secondary explosion of the vehicle indicates the presence of a large number of explosives.”
Video from the city showed a cloud of smoke over a block in northwestern Kabul, but it is not clear whether this came from the same attack. The United States stated that there are no signs of civilian casualties.
The drone attack occurred a few hours after President Joe Biden warned that another terrorist attack in the area was “very likely within the next 24 to 36 hours.” A suicide bomb attack on Thursday killed more than 100 Afghans and 13 US troops.
The attack highlighted the risks faced by those involved in the final days of evacuation from the western part of the Afghan capital, and US officials continue to warn that another attack will occur.
Jack Sullivan, the president’s national security adviser, told CNN on Sunday: “We are doing everything we can to prevent and disrupt the threat stream we are seeing and prevent any attacks that might endanger the lives of American soldiers or civilians. Try to enter the airport.
“But all we can do is reduce the risk. We cannot eliminate the risk. Given what we see in the intelligence, we are in a period of serious danger.”
The United States evacuated 2,000 people in 12 hours on Saturday, bringing the total number of people evacuated or helped to evacuate since August 14 to more than 115,000. But the Biden administration still hopes to evacuate hundreds of Americans, including 300 American civilians who remain in the country.
Many experts have warned that the government will not be able to airlift all Americans out before the deadline on Tuesday. Sullivan said he is still optimistic that others can still be evacuated afterwards with the help of the Taliban.
“After August 31, we believe that we have a lot of influence to allow the Taliban to fulfill their promises and allow U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and [our] Afghan ally,” he said.
French President Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday that France and the United Kingdom will begin a diplomatic push to establish a safe zone in the Afghan capital for those trying to leave the country. A UN Security Council resolution will be submitted on Monday. The U.S.-led evacuation will end on Tuesday night.
“Our draft resolution aims to establish a safe zone in Kabul under the control of the United Nations in order to continue humanitarian operations,” he told the newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche.
“This is important. This will provide the United Nations with a framework for urgent action. Most importantly, it will allow us to face everyone’s responsibilities and allow the international community to continue to put pressure on the Taliban.”
US Secretary of State Anthony Brinken added that after September 1, the United States will no longer have a US diplomatic presence in Afghanistan. He told NBC News on Sunday: “We are committed to continuing to help those who want to leave Afghanistan but did not leave Afghanistan until September 1, and this will continue. There is no deadline for this work.
“And we have a way, we have a mechanism to help those who choose to leave continue to leave Afghanistan.”
Biden went to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Sunday morning to formally receive the bodies of the 13 American soldiers killed in the explosion on Thursday. Before their flag-covered transfer cases land in the United States, the President should meet with some of the families of these soldiers.