US drone strike in Kabul kills 10 civilians: Live news | Taliban News

Table of Contents US investigating reports of civilian casualtiesAfghanistan’s healthcare system near collapse, aid agencies warnMexico welcomes evacuated Afghan employees of WSJKabul families say children killed in US drone attackQatar lauded for its role in Afghanistan evacuationsPakistani plane carrying medical supplies lands in Mazar-i-SharifISIL claims responsibility for rocket attack on […]

A US drone strike in Kabul killed 10 civilians, ranging from two to 40 years old, Al Jazeera has reported.

The US said the strike on Sunday targeted Islamic State in Khorasan Province, ISKP (ISIS-K) suicide bombers intending to attack Kabul airport.

Meanwhile, several rockets have been fired at Kabul’s international airport, a day before the deadline for the US troops to pull out of Afghanistan ends.

The White House, which confirmed the attack, said that evacuation operations at the airport were not interrupted, adding that US President Joe Biden was briefed about the latest rocket attack on Monday morning aimed at the Hamid Karzai Airport in Kabul.

A US official told the Reuters news agency that some of the rockets were intercepted by a missile defence system.

The ISIL (ISIS) armed group claimed responsibility for the attack, the group’s Nasher News said on its Telegram channel, adding that six Katyusha rockets were fired at the airport.

The attack comes a day after the US forces launched second drone attack in Afghanistan after Thursday’s suicide bombing at the airport that left nearly 200 people dead. At least 13 US troops were also among those killed.

The US said it had wanted to take out suicide bombers in the latest drone attack in Kabul but media reports say several children were killed in the incident that destroyed a car laden with explosives.

Here are the latest updates:

US investigating reports of civilian casualties

The Pentagon said Monday it is “aware” of reports of civilian casualties in Sunday’s US drone strike on suspected ISKP (ISIS-K) suicide bombers, but added while it is still assessing the reports, it is not in a position to dispute them.

“Make no mistake, no military on the face of the earth works harder to avoid civilian casualties than the United States military. And nobody wants to see innocent life taken,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters Monday. “We take it very, very seriously, and when we know that we have caused innocent life to be lost and conduct of our operations, we’ll be transparent about it.

“Nobody wants to see that happen. But you know what else we didn’t want to see happen? We didn’t want to see happen, what we believe to be a very real, a very specific and a very imminent threat to the Hamid Karzai International Airport and to our troops, operating at the airport as well as civilians around it and in it,” Kirby said.

Those killed ranged in age from two to 40 [Ali M Latifi/Al Jazeera]

Afghanistan’s healthcare system near collapse, aid agencies warn

Afghanistan’s healthcare system is at risk of collapse, two major aid agencies told Reuters news agency, after foreign donors stopped providing aid following the Taliban takeover.

After the United States withdraw the bulk of its remaining troops last month, the Taliban accelerated its military campaign, taking control of the capital Kabul on Aug. 15.
International donors including the World Bank and European Union froze funding to Afghanistan shortly afterwards.

“One of the great risks for the health system here is basically to collapse because of lack of support,” said Filipe Ribeiro, Afghanistan representative for Medecins Sans Frontières (MSF), one of the largest medical aid agencies in the country.

“The overall health system in Afghanistan is understaffed, under-equipped and underfunded, for years. And the great risk is that this underfunding will continue over time.”

Mexico welcomes evacuated Afghan employees of WSJ

Mexico received a third group of Afghan nationals on Sunday night.

This latest group was made up of 86 people, journalists and their families, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The refugees, including Wall Street Journal staff, arrived in Mexico from Qatar and the United Kingdom, and requested humanitarian protection.

Kabul families say children killed in US drone attack

The Ahmadi and Nejrabi families had packed all their belongings, waiting for word to be escorted to Kabul airport and eventually moved to the United States, but the message Washington sent instead was a rocket into their homes in a Kabul neighbourhood.

The Sunday afternoon drone attack, which the US claimed was conducted on an Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP, or ISIS-K) target, killed 10 members of the families, ranging from two to 40 years old.

Read more here.

General view of a residence house destroyed after a rocket attack in Kabul, Afghanistan August 29, 2021 [Reuters]

Qatar lauded for its role in Afghanistan evacuations

Qatar has played an outsized role in US efforts to evacuate tens of thousands of people from Afghanistan.

Now it is being asked to help shape what comes next for Afghanistan because of its ties with both Washington and the Taliban, which is in charge in Kabul.

Read more here.

Pakistani plane carrying medical supplies lands in Mazar-i-Sharif

A Pakistani plane carrying medicines and health supplies has landed in Afghanistan’s northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, bringing the first shipment of supplies since Kabul came under the control of Taliban.

Pakistan’s ambassador to Kabul announced the development as part of a humanitarian air bridge for essential supplies to Afghanistan in coordination with international agencies.

This was the first of three flights planned with Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to meet urgent shortages in medicines and medical supplies in Afghanistan, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement.

The plane was loaded with the supplies by the WHO’s logistics team at the International Humanitarian City in Dubai and flew directly to Mazar-i-Sharif airport in Afghanistan.

ISIL claims responsibility for rocket attack on Kabul airport

The ISIL (ISIS) armed group has claimed responsibility for a rocket attack on Kabul airport, the group’s Nasher News said on its Telegram channel.

“By the grace of God Almighty, the soldiers of the Caliphate targeted Kabul International Airport with six Katyusha rockets,” it said.

US moved 1,200 people from Kabul on Sunday: White House

The United States airlifted about 1,200 people from Kabul on Sunday, the White House says, as the enormous evacuation from Afghanistan enters its final day.

EU should support Afghanistan’s neighbours: Josep Borrell

The European Union should provide financial support to countries neighbouring Afghanistan to help them manage refugees fleeing the Taliban, the bloc’s foreign policy chief says in an interview.

“We will have to increase cooperation with the neighbouring countries to resolve issues related to Afghanistan. We must help them with the first refugee wave,” Josep Borrell told Italy’s Corriere Della Sera newspaper.

“Afghans fleeing the country are not going to reach Rome in the first place, but maybe Tashkent (Uzbekistan). We need to help those countries that will be on the front line.”

A Pakistani soldier stands guard as Afghans walk along fences after arriving in Pakistan through the Pakistan-Afghanistan border crossing point in Chaman [AFP]

Russia calls for conference to rebuild Afghan economy

Russia has proposed an international conference to rebuild Afghanistan’s economy following the Taliban’s takeover of the country and an ensuing wave of migrations.

“All the wealthy countries of the world must meet with representatives of the new Afghan authorities to discuss issues of economic and social reconstruction,” Moscow’s Afghanistan envoy, Samir Kabulov, said on state television.

Kabulov said he saw countries that had deployed troops in Afghanistan as first in line for such efforts, saying: “This is a question of honour and conscience.”

However, he also clarified that the conference would not mean “leaving the money to the Taliban,” but said the money was needed to support the national currency, for example.

Infographic: Afghanistan’s humanitarian crisis

One in three Afghans is going hungry and more than half a million people have been displaced by conflict since January.

Read more here.

Russia calls on US to release Afghan central bank reserves

Russia has called on the US to release Afghan central bank reserves that Washington blocked after the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul earlier this month.

“If our Western colleagues are actually worried about the fate of the Afghan people, then we must not create additional problems for them by freezing gold and foreign exchange reserves,” said the Kremlin’s envoy to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov.

The US must urgently unfreeze these assets, he said on the state-run Rossiya 24 network, “to bolster the rate of the collapsing national currency”. Kabulov added that without doing so the new Afghan authorities will turn to “the trafficking of illegal opiates” and “sell on the black market the weapons” abandoned by the Afghan army and the US.

‘Far greater humanitarian crisis’ looms in Afghanistan: UNHCR

As evacuations from Kabul wind down in coming days, “a larger crisis is just beginning” in Afghanistan and for its 39 million people, the UN refugee agency UNHCR says, appealing for support.

Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, whose agency said last Friday that up to 500,000 Afghans could flee by year-end, reiterated a call for borders to remain open and for more countries to share “this humanitarian responsibility” with Iran and Pakistan which already host 2.2 million Afghans.

“The airlifts out of Kabul will end in a matter of days, and the tragedy that has unfolded will no longer be as visible. But it will still be a daily reality for millions of Afghans. We must not turn away. A far greater humanitarian crisis is just beginning,” Grandi said in a statement.

Germany’s Maas urges talks with Russia, China over Afghanistan

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has said Russia and China need to be involved in talks on the future of Afghanistan, including on plans for the evacuation of Afghans facing possible persecution by the Taliban.

An emergency meeting of the UN Security Council in New York later on Monday would be an indication of whether Moscow and Beijing are willing to cooperate, he said.

There are efforts under way “to bring all important international partners to the table, and so it will be important that Russia and China are also there”, Maas said during a visit to the Uzbek capital Tashkent.

Unlike the other permanent members of the UN Security Council – the United States, the United Kingdom and France – Russia and China still have embassies open in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.

Afghan refugees stranded between Poland and Belarus are unwell

An aid group has expressed concern about the health of a group of Afghan refugees who have been stranded for weeks at the border between Poland and Belarus amid a spat about migration between the two countries.

“Many are complaining of fever, vomiting and diarrhoea,” spokesperson Kalina Czwarnog, of the aid organisation Ocalenie, which means “rescue”, told DPA news agency. Polish border guards had stopped an ambulance from reaching the people, she said.

The group is made up of 32 people from Afghanistan, according to the aid organisation. They have been staying in a forest near the village of Usnarz Gorny for almost three weeks, hoping to cross into the EU.

Taliban condemns US attack in Kabul: Chinese media

Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, has condemned the United States for launching an attack in Kabul without informing it first, according to an interview on China’s state television CGTN.

The spokesman told CGTN that it is unlawful for the US to launch attacks in other countries at will, adding that seven people were killed in Sunday’s drone attack.

“If there was any potential threat in Afghanistan, it should have been reported to us, not an arbitrary attack that has resulted in civilian casualties,” Mujahid said in a written response to CGTN.

Taliban stands guard near a vehicle that was used to fire rockets at Kabul airport [Stringer/EPA]

Uzbekistan ready to help Germany with evacuations: Minister

Uzbekistan is willing to open its borders to people fleeing from Taliban rule in Afghanistan who are on a German list of those at-risk in the country and need to be evacuated, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas says.

Maas is on a trip to Turkey, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan and Qatar, among other to find ways to evacuate these people, either by plane, if Kabul airport can be kept open after NATO withdraws or overland to neighbouring countries.

“Uzbekistan is prepared to help us with this group of people,” Maas said.

US has capacity to evacuate remaining Americans: Official

The United States has the capacity to evacuate the approximately 300 US citizens remaining in Afghanistan who want to leave before the Tuesday deadline, President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, says.

“We have the capacity to have 300 Americans, which is roughly the number we think are remaining, come to the airport and get on planes in the time that is remaining,” he said.

Sullivan said the US does not currently plan to have an ongoing embassy presence after the final US troop withdrawal. But he pledged the US “will make sure there is safe passage for any American citizen, any legal permanent resident” after Tuesday, as well as for “those Afghans who helped us”.

Afghan refugees exit a US Air Force plane in Kosovo’s Pristina airport [Armend Limani/AFP]

About 500 Russian troops in drills near Afghanistan

About 500 Russian motorised infantry troops are carrying out drills in the mountains of Tajikistan against the backdrop of instability in neighbouring Afghanistan, Russia’s defence ministry is quoted as saying.

All servicemen involved in the exercise come from the Russian military base in Tajikistan, the Interfax news agency quoted the Central Military District command as saying.

The current set of drills is the third one carried out by Russia close to the Afghan border this month. Next month, a Russia-led security bloc will hold another exercise in Kyrgyzstan which hosts a Russian military airbase.

Children among civilians killed in US drone attack

Several children have been killed in a US drone attack that destroyed a car laden with explosives near the international airport in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, according to witnesses.

Witnesses told Al Jazeera at least three children were among six civilians who died in Sunday’s attack, while some media reports say nine members of one family – including six children – were among the dead.

Read more here.

Japan evacuates one national and 14 Afghan people

Japan said that military aircraft the government had deployed for Afghanistan left Kabul carrying one Japanese person, and are currently staying in a neighbouring country.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said during a news conference that the aircraft also evacuated 14 Afghan people to another country at the request of the United States.

A small number of Japanese remain in Afghanistan as they did not wish to leave the country, Kato said.

Mexico receives more fleeing Afghan journalists, families

Mexico has received 86 media workers and their family members from Afghanistan, the government says.

Most of the people who arrived with the latest flight worked for The Wall Street Journal newspaper in Afghanistan, the government said in a statement. The group, the third one to arrive since evacuations began, landed at Mexico City’s international airport.

Mexico called the reception of people from Afghanistan “a political decision” carried out in full adherence to the historical tradition of humanitarian assistance. “The government of Mexico … reiterates its willingness to grant protection and assistance for humanitarian reasons – within its capacities – to people from that country, whose life and integrity are in imminent danger.”

For previous updates click here.

Edie Villetas

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