A U.S. military spokesman confirmed that a U.S. military airstrike aimed at a vehicle suspected to be a suicide bomber heading to the airport in Kabul. Zabihullah Mujahid, the main Taliban spokesman, had earlier told various media outlets that the United States has launched an attack on the vehicle on Sunday. At that time US military sources had not confirmed the attack. They have since said that there had been an attack in order to prevent the vehicle from killing dozens or more people.
Unnamed U.S. officials told Reuters and other news outlets that the US had launched an attack against a suspected suicide bomber. Witnesses told Al Jazeera that they heard an explosion and that black smoke rose into the sky.
The attack was later confirmed by a U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) spokesperson:
“US military forces conducted a self-defense unmanned over-the-horizon airstrike today on a vehicle in Kabul, eliminating an imminent ISIS-K threat to Hamad Karzai International airport. We are confident we successfully hit the target. Significant secondary explosions from the vehicle indicated the presence of a substantial amount of explosive material. We are assessing the possibilities of civilian casualties, though we have no indications at this time,”
Navy Captain Bill Urban, another spokesman for CENTCOM told the press that the strike was self-defense and they are looking to see if there were any civilian casualties. He claimed that so far there was no proof of any such casualties.
“We are confident we successfully hit the target. Significant secondary explosions from the vehicle indicated the presence of a substantial amount of explosive material.”
The incident comes after the Pentagon confirmed it killed two ISIS-K terrorists in Afghanistan over the weekend.
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“The fact that two of these individuals are no longer walking on the face of the earth, that’s a good thing,” said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby to reporters on Saturday.
That airstrike came in retaliation to a bombing at the Kabul airport that killed 13 U.S. military members and numerous other civilians last week. ISIS-K claimed responsibility for the blast.
“We aren’t thinking for a minute that what happened yesterday gets us in the clear,” Kirby also said. “Not a minute. But do we believe that we hit valid targets, bad guys who can do bad things and can plan bad missions? Absolutely. And do we think that that will have some impact on their ability going forward? Absolutely.”