Rocket Explosions Just Rocked Kabul Airport

With at least one home hit.
Brad Bergan
A man overlooking a house destroyed by a rocket (left), and an explosion (right).1, 2

A deafening explosion rocked Kabul on Sunday just days after a suicide bombing in the Afghan capital's airport claimed the lives of more than 160 locals, in addition to 13 U.S. troops, according to an initial tweet from the ground.

"The explosion in Kabul was a result of a rocket attack that landed in PD 15," read the tweet from journalist Habib Khan. "No word on casualties and no group has claimed responsibility."

Kabul rocket attack exploded home reportedly housing US citizens

The U.S. is still evacuating Afghan refugees and U.S. citizens and allies, racing to move everyone out by August 31, the official deadline for pulling out of the country in the wake of the Taliban's seizure of the capital and country. Last Thursday's bombings saw one Army soldier, one Navy sailor, and 11 Marines killed, the responsibility for which was blamed on a wing of the Islamic State. As of writing, the U.S. Embassy has and continues to warn U.S. citizens to avoid trips to the airport, and to keep their distance from airport gates, citing a "specific, credible threat" of additional attacks.

Unofficial sources have told CNN that ISIS is suspected to be behind Sunday's attack, which came from a rocket targeted at a shelter or home where remaining Americans were housed amid rushed city evacuations. The Sunday blast in Kabul was a rocket that "initial information shows hit a house," according to an AFP report from a security official. On Saturday, the Pentagon declared that it had neutralized two "high profile" targets — specifically, jihadist logistics specialists — in addition to wounding another party in an eastern Afghanistan drone strike, as retaliation for the Thursday suicide bombing. Major General Hank Taylor claimed no civilians were injured or killed in the retaliatory attack, during a news conference in Washington, according to the CNN report.

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The neighborhood struck during the rocket attack was just northwest of Kabul's international airport, in the Khuwja Bughra neighborhood. And, sadly, Afghan Police Chief Rashid said the explosion killed a child, according to an AP News report. U.S. forces have scrambled to organize the evacuation effort, tightening security around the airfield and continuing cargo plane runs into and out of the airport on Sunday after the U.K. ended its evacuation flights on Saturday. As of writing, more than 110,000 people have been successfully evacuated since the massive airlift efforts started two weeks ago, which initially saw unconscionable scenes of chaos, from traffic congestion to dozens of Afghan citizens running and clamoring over one another to climb onto a U.S. Air Force cargo plane while it was preparing to take off (some of whom succeeded, only to fall to their death after takeoff, midair).

With at least one child and one home potentially inhabited by remaining U.S. citizens, we can safely say that the cycle of attack and retaliatory attacks will likely continue in the following days as the U.S. continues its colossal evacuation efforts. We can only give our sympathies to families of all who are killed in this worst-case-scenario pullout of U.S. and allied forces after 20 years of occupation, and hope for a more peaceful process as the final day of evacuation draws near.

This was a breaking story and was regularly updated as new information became available.

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