Rockets fired towards airport as pull out ends
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 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.
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 (in Uzbekistan). We need to help those countries that will be on the front line.”
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.
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. - Agencies