Rocket hits near Kabul airport, kills child

Kabul, Aug 29 (AP): An Afghan police chief says a rocket has struck a neighbourhood northwest of Kabul’s international airport amid the US evacuation there, killing a child.
Rashid, the Kabul police chief who goes by one name, says the rocket struck Sunday afternoon.
No group immediately claimed the attack.
The rocket fire comes as the United States winds down a historic airlift that saw tens of thousands evacuated from Kabul’s international airport, the scene of much of the chaos that engulfed the Afghan capital since the Taliban took over two weeks ago.
About 114,000 people have fled the country via a US-led evacuation since the Taliban swept back into power two weeks ago, and the operation is winding down despite Western powers saying thousands may be left behind.
What had already been a chaotic and desperate operation turned bloody on Thursday when a suicide bomber from the local chapter of the Islamic State group targeted US troops stopping huge crowds of people from entering the airport.
Another terrorist attack on the Kabul airport is “highly likely” in the next 24 to 36 hours, President Joe Biden has warned, as the US rushed to evacuate the few remaining Americans and Afghan allies ahead of the August 31 deadline to withdraw from Afghanistan.
“The situation on the ground continues to be extremely dangerous, and the threat of terrorist attacks on the airport remains high. Our commanders informed me that an attack is highly likely in the next 24-36 hours,” Biden said on Saturday.
Biden directed them to take every possible measure to prioritise force protection. He ensured that they have all the authorities, resources and plans to protect US men and women on the ground.
Biden also vowed to keep up retaliatory strikes against the terrorists responsible for Thursday’s suicide bombing at the airport that killed 13 US service members and at least 170 Afghans.
A local branch of the Islamic State group — Islamic State in Khorasan Province (IS-K) — claimed the attack.
In retaliation, the US carried out a drone strike on eastern Afghanistan late on Friday. The Pentagon said two “high profile” ISIS targets were killed and another was injured in the drone strike.
“We discussed the strike that US forces took last night against the terrorist group ISIS-K in Afghanistan. I said we would go after the group responsible for the attack on our troops and innocent civilians in Kabul, and we have. This strike was not the last,” Biden said.
“We will continue to hunt down any person involved in that heinous attack and make them pay,” he said.
“Whenever anyone seeks to harm the United States or attack our troops, we will respond,” he added.
As the mission winds down, Biden said US military personnel were continuing to evacuate civilians “despite the treacherous situation in Kabul”.
While roughly 350 Americans are left in Afghanistan who wish to leave, thousands of Afghans who worked with the US during the 20-year war and are still trying to get a flight out of the country.
“Yesterday, we brought out another 6,800 people, including hundreds of Americans. And today, we discussed the ongoing preparations to help people continue to leave Afghanistan after our military departs,” Biden said.

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