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Fully aware of reports of civilian casualties in Kabul, says Pentagon as three children die in drone attack

Capt Bill Urban, spokesman of the US Central Command, said the US would be deeply saddened by any potential loss of innocent life in the strike.

Published: 30th August 2021 07:33 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th August 2021 08:09 AM   |  A+A-

Destroyed vehicle is seen inside a house after U.S. drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021. (Photo | AP)

By PTI

WASHINGTON: The United States is aware of reports of civilian casualties in Kabul following its drone strike on an explosive-laden vehicle headed towards the Hamid Karzai International Airport, the Pentagon said.

"We are aware of reports of civilian casualties following our strike on a vehicle in Kabul today," Capt Bill Urban, spokesman of the US Central Command, said.

"We are still assessing the results of this strike, which we know disrupted an imminent ISIS-K threat to the airport," he added.

Urban said the US would be deeply saddened by any potential loss of innocent life in the strike.

'We know that there were substantial and powerful subsequent explosions resulting from the destruction of the vehicle, indicating a large amount of explosive material inside that may have caused additional casualties. It is unclear what may have happened, and we are investigating further," he said.

Meanwhile, an Afghan official says three children were killed in a drone strike that U.S. officials said struck a vehicle carrying Islamic State suicide bombers.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity out of security concerns.

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U.S. officials said the vehicle was carrying explosives and that the initial strike on Sunday set off secondary explosions.

The American officials said the bombers planned to attack Kabul's international airport, where a massive airlift is still underway ahead of a Tuesday deadline for the withdrawal of U.S. forces.

The Biden administration has safely evacuated more than 5,500 American nationals from Afghanistan including about 50 people in the last day and there are nearly 250 Americans who are trying to leave the war-torn country, the State Department said on Sunday.

Chaos has enveloped Kabul after Afghanistan's government collapsed and the Taliban seized control on August 14.

The Taliban insurgents stormed across the country, capturing all major cities in a matter of days, two weeks before the US was set to complete its troop withdrawal after a costly two-decade war.

"Nearly 5,500 American citizens and likely more have been safely evacuated from Afghanistan since August 14. This includes an additional roughly 50 individuals in the last day," a State Department spokesperson said.

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The official said there remain up to approximately 250 Americans in Afghanistan who are trying to leave the country.

"Our team on the ground continues to coordinate assistance around the clock for this group, while taking the current security situation into account. Some may already be at HKIA or in the process of being guided there, and all have information on how to reach us," the official said.

"Additionally, we have been in regular contact with a group of roughly 280 individuals who have self-identified as Americans in Afghanistan but who remain undecided about whether to leave the country or who have told us they do not intend to depart," said the spokesperson.

Meanwhile, scores of countries led by the United States in a joint statement, said that they are all committed to ensuring that their citizens, nationals and residents, employees, Afghans who have worked with them, and those who are at risk can continue to travel freely to destinations outside Afghanistan.

"We have received assurances from the Taliban that all foreign nationals and any Afghan citizen with travel authorisation from our countries will be allowed to proceed in a safe and orderly manner to points of departure and travel outside the country," the joint statement said.

"We will continue issuing travel documentation to designated Afghans, and we have the clear expectation of and commitment from the Taliban that they can travel to our respective countries. We note the public statements of the Taliban confirming this understanding," it said.



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