More rocket fire at Kabul airport, multiple possible deaths

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

This is turning into a daily occurrence, unfortunately. Early on Monday, multiple rockets landed in a residential neighborhood near the airport in Kabul. It’s unknown at this point who fired them, but the list of suspects is probably rather short. Witnesses on the scene claimed that there were casualties, but that couldn’t be confirmed either. An investigation is supposedly underway, but flight operations at the airport were reportedly not interrupted. The President was briefed on the rocket attack and repeated his orders for our forces to “do whatever is necessary” to keep the evacuation operation secure. Somehow I doubt that this is the last we’ll see of this before the final plane takes off tomorrow. (Associated Press)

Rockets struck a neighborhood near Kabul’s international airport on Monday amid the ongoing U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. It wasn’t immediately clear who launched them.

The rockets struck Monday morning in Kabul’s Salim Karwan neighborhood, witnesses said. Gunfire immediately followed the explosions but it wasn’t immediately clear who was firing.

The witnesses, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, said they heard the sound of three explosions and then saw a flash in the sky. People fled after the blasts, they said.

From the description, this wasn’t any sort of a military operation so it almost certainly wasn’t a U.S. drone strike that went off target. If it had been, the damage would have been significantly worse.

The Taliban has picked up any number of our weapons, including rockets, that the Afghan army abandoned, so it’s not possible to rule out that possibility. But from the limited amount of damage, it sounds like these were more of the homemade rockets that ISIS-K tends to use. The car that was blown up this weekend (carrying explosives) also reportedly had four of the crude pipes that the terror group uses to construct rockets in it. Clearly, their aim isn’t very good, but that’s not really the point. They just want to spread terror and confusion in an already chaotic environment.

The other big development from yesterday was the release of a statement from NATO, the EU, and roughly 100 individual countries saying that the Taliban has agreed to return the airport to normal operations after Tuesday when they take control of it. Further, the Taliban has offered “assurances” that people with travel documents would still be able to leave the country via the airport once the United States is gone.

Of course, the Taliban has been offering “assurances” of any number of things all along, generally being delivered by their political office in Qatar. The problem is that the actual Taliban leaders in Kabul seem to either be unaware of the promises being made or don’t really care about them. They simply proceed with whatever it was they were planning to do to begin with. We’ve already confirmed that Taliban fighters have been going around the city with lists of Afghans who worked with and assisted the NATO forces in the country. Pardon me if I’m a bit skeptical that any of those helpers with travel documents will simply be allowed to board a plane and fly out of the country.

Tomorrow is supposed to be the official deadline for that final plane with the last of our troops onboard to depart Kabul, leaving the country entirely in the hands of the Taliban. Let’s all say a prayer and keep our fingers crossed. If that flight is attacked and we lose a huge number of troops, Joe Biden will be forced to send our military back into the fray in force. What would happen after that is anybody’s guess.