A U.S. military drone strike blew up a vehicle laden with explosives in Kabul on Sunday, Defense Department officials said, hours after President Biden had warned that another terrorist attack against the Afghan capital’s airport was “highly likely.”
The strike, which came two days before Mr. Biden’s deadline to withdraw from the country, eliminated an imminent threat to Hamid Karzai International Airport from the Islamic State Khorasan group, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command said. The group had claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing at the airport on Thursday that killed 13 American service members and as many as 170 civilians.
The spokesman, Capt. Bill Urban, said that Central Command was aware of reports of civilian casualties after the strike on Sunday.
“We know that there were substantial and powerful subsequent explosions resulting from the destruction of the vehicle, indicating a large amount of explosive material inside that may have caused additional casualties,” he said. “It is unclear what may have happened, and we are investigating further.”
He added, “We would be deeply saddened by any potential loss of innocent life.”
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SOURCE: The New York Times, Helene Cooper and Eric Schmitt