The Pentagon on Monday said that it was looking into reports that ten Afghan civilians, including a number of children, were killed during a U.S. drone strike over the weekend that targeted suspected ISIS-K militants, according to NPR.
In a news briefing, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the U.S. military was “continuing to assess” reports of the civilian deaths.
Sunday’s drone strike destroyed an Islamic State car bomb that posed an “imminent” threat to Kabul’s airport, U.S. Central Command said.
However, The Washington Post reported Monday that 10 Afghan civilians, including several children, were also killed in the strike. The dead, all part of the same extended family, were reportedly getting out of a car near the targeted vehicle.
One of the relatives told the Los Angeles Times that no fewer than seven children were among the dead. However, nothing has been officially confirmed.
Maj. Gen. Hank Taylor, also at the same briefing, said “operations in Afghanistan will conclude soon,” but gave no specific timeline despite the White House’s deadline of Tuesday.
Meanwhile, rockets fired on Monday that were apparently aimed at Kabul’s airport rained down on a nearby neighborhood as U.S. forces scrambled to evacuate thousands of Afghan trying to flee ahead of the withdraw of all American troops.
The attack, reportedly involving several rockets, occurred as U.S. C-17 cargo jets continued operations to evacuate people desperate to escape from an Afghanistan that is now controlled by the hard-line Taliban.
Gen. Taylor said five rockets were fired at the Kabul airport, that three had missed altogether, one was shot down, and a fifth hit the airfield, but caused no damage or injuries.
“We’re in a particularly dangerous time right now,” said Pentagon spokesman Kirby, acknowledging that there was still a threat to U.S. forces.
The Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K) claimed responsibility for the attack. The group’s Nasher News said on its Telegram channel that “By the grace of God Almighty, the soldiers of the Caliphate targeted Kabul International Airport with six Katyusha rockets.”
U.S. Central Command spokesman Bill Urban said earlier that the rockets were intercepted by a U.S. defensive system known as a Counter Rocket, Artillery and Mortar System, or C-RAM.
The drone strikes follow a suicide bombing at the gates of the airport last week that killed 169 Afghans and 13 U.S. service members. ISIS-K, an affiliate of the widely known extremist group, claimed that attack as well, inviting swift retaliation in the form of a U.S. drone strike that killed two “high-profile” members of group and wounded a third, according to U.S. officials.
Why is the title, “Afghan Children Killed in the U.S.”? Didn’t the killing happen in Afghanistan?????
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