News World Drone strike stopped suicide bombers heading for Kabul airport, US says

Drone strike stopped suicide bombers heading for Kabul airport, US says

The US said a drone took out a vehicle that was packed with explosives and destined for Kabul's busy airport. Photo: AAP
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The US says a drone has “eliminated” suspected Islamic State suicide bombers who planned another attack on the airport in Afghanistan’s capital.

There are concerns about the impact on innocent lives following the strike on a car in Kabul, with an Afghan official telling journalists that three children had been killed during the explosion.

The official spoke to Australian Associated Press on condition of anonymity out of security concerns. The US has not confirmed the number of casualties.

Earlier, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed civilians had died in the strike which the US said was carried out by an unmanned aircraft piloted from outside Afghanistan.

“We are investigating the reason of the airstrike and the exact number of casualties,” he said.

The strike is the second carried out by US forces in Afghanistan since an Islamic State suicide bomber struck the airport on Thursday, killing 13 US troops and scores of Afghan civilians trying to flee the country.

On Saturday, US President Joe Biden said the situation on the ground remained extremely dangerous, and that his military chiefs had told him another militant attack was highly likely within the next 24-36 hours.

US officials had said they were particularly concerned about the local affiliate of Islamic State attacking the airport as American troops depart, in particular the threat from rockets and vehicle-borne explosives.

Following the strike, a US official said secondary explosions showed the target had been carrying a “substantial amount of explosive material”.

Witnesses reported an explosion near the airport and television footage showed black smoke rising into the sky.

A rocket reportedly hit residential area near Hamid Karzai International Airport. Photo: Getty

Two witnesses said the blast appeared to have been caused by a rocket that struck a house in an area to the northern side of the airport.

Following Thursday’s suicide bombing, the US military launched a drone strike on Friday that it said targeted members of the group in Nangarhar Province, east of Kabul.

That strike killed two “high-profile” ISIS-K planners and facilitators and wounded another, the Pentagon said.

-with AAP