US troops rush their last day in Kabul on alert

Car used by terrorists to launch a missile attack on Kabul airport on Monday. / AFP

After the attacks of the last week this Monday, six rockets were launched against the airport on Monday

M. P.

The United States monitored the last day of its troop withdrawal from Afghanistan especially closely. The Pentagon acknowledged on Monday that this historic moment after twenty years of invasion was “particularly dangerous”, so the military remained on high alert in the event that the Islamic State could organize another major attack in the final hours of occupation. The alarm was reinforced by the attack perpetrated this Monday against the Hamid Karzei airport with the launch of six rockets – four of them fell near the airfield and the other two were intercepted -, which follows other attempts to provoke a massacre like the one on Thursday past, with more than two hundred fatalities, or the car bomb destroyed with a drone when it tried to approach the air complex.

“The US military forces successfully used force protection measures to abort that attack,” said General Hank Taylor, deputy director of General Staff Logistics, referring to this latest attack, which repelled the anti-missile batteries installed in the airport. Two of the rockets were hit in the air, as confirmed by several witnesses to the falling shrapnel, and the rest hit nearby buildings.

The attack occurred around three in the morning (local time), did not cause victims and its responsibility was claimed hours later by the Islamic State of Khorasan (IS-K). “Caliphate soldiers attacked Kabul International Airport with six rockets,” the group said in a statement. The terrorists used a car parked in a neighborhood north of the city as a launching pad, which was completely burned.

Defense Department spokesman John Kirby said from Washington that the military deployed at the air terminal operated under the conviction that they faced “potential threats” during the few hours they had left in the country before boarding in the last few hours. planes ready for evacuation. The departure was one of the most complex moments, since the withdrawal of the soldiers from the perimeter of the airfield and the antiaircraft batteries left them more exposed than ever. The president, Joe Biden, stressed that the “priority” on this day is “to protect our forces.”

Transfer of command

For security reasons, few details have emerged about his last day in Kabul, but apparently the US intention was to transfer command of the facilities to a third country, possibly Turkey, to take over. the control tower. The Taliban want the terminal to resume commercial flights as soon as possible, which also involve the arrival of goods and supplies essential for daily life in the country.

The defense spokesman did not spare in qualifications about the degree of threat that the troops bear against jihadism. “Real,” “concrete,” “active,” and “specific,” Kirby emphasized. “We take it very seriously. Now we are in a particularly dangerous moment, “he added.

The pace of transfers has slowed down after the acceleration applied by all governments following the massacre carried out on Thursday by a jihadist armed with an explosive vest. Thus, the United States evacuated 1,200 people on Monday, including members of diplomatic personnel who remained in Afghanistan.

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