Two weeks ago the Taliban gained control of Afghanistan and president Joe Biden began to pull our troops from the country. The Kabul airport was targeted in a rocket attack that was intercepted by the U.S.’s C-RAM missile defense system, according to Fox News. Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said top aides have briefed President Biden on the development. She said the president “has reconfirmed his order that commanders redouble their efforts to prioritize doing whatever is necessary to protect our forces on the ground.” The U.S. has been attempting to airlift our troops and Afghans fearing for their lives out of the war torn country. The U.S. State Department released a statement signed by 100 countries, NATO and the European Union, saying the Taliban assured people with travel documents would still be able to leave the country. A promise that the Taliban doesn’t seem to want to keep, since they continue to allow militant groups to attack U.S. forces amid the exit chaos.
Did the Rocket Hurt Anyone?
U.S. air defenses were engaged when as many as five rockets were fired at the Hamid Karzai International Airport. The attempted attack did not stop U.S. military cargo jets, which continued the effort to get people out of Afghanistan. The rockets ended up landing in Kabul’s Salim Karwan neighborhood, which is two miles from the airport, and mostly residential apartments. So far, no known casualties have been reported. In the Chahr-e-Shaheed neighborhood, what appeared to be six homemade rocket tubes weren mounted where the backseat should be in a car, according to Military.com. “I was inside the house with my children and other family members, suddenly there were some blasts,” Jaiuddin Khan, who lives nearby, told AP. “We jumped into the house compound and lay on the ground.” This would not be the first attack at the airport while people are attempting to flee Afghanistan. Recently, a devastating suicide bombing at the airport gates killed at least 169 Afghans and 13 U.S. service members. Biden has said he will continue to evacuate our citizens. President Biden said Afghanistan continues to be “extremely dangerous” and projected another attack on Kabul airport as “highly likely” before the end of U.S. exit.
U.S. Diplomats Leave Afghanistan
According to a memo from the State Department, evacuation of U.S. diplomatic personnel has begun. The U.S. has secured all staff members, and their families, from the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan. Afghans and American citizens working for the embassy initially struggled to make it through the chaos at the airport gates. The U.S. will not have a diplomatic presence in Afghanistan after this week, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken confirmed. Blinken said the U.S. will continue to facilitate the evacuation of Afghan refugees. Evacuation missions will be conducted from another nation such as Pakistan. A majority of other countries have already finished leaving Afghanistan. The UK confirmed they have finished leaving Afghanistan, which ends 20 years of British military presence. Smoke from several fires along the airport’s perimeter could be seen throughout Monday. U.S. forces typically destroy material and equipment they won’t take with them during the evacuation, this is not for sure the cause of the fires. If that is the case, it will signify the end of the longest war in U.S. history. What will happen now that the Taliban is back in power? How will President Biden and future presidents keep another pearl harbor, or 9/11 from happening? What kind of defenses are we setting up here at home in order to be prepared?
Written by: Erinn Malloy