KABUL: Daesh extremists launched a barrage of rockets aimed at Kabul airport on Monday in the final hours of the chaotic Western withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The rockets were fired from the back of a vehicle in the city, and intercepted and destroyed by US anti-missile defenses. Debris fell in various parts of the capital.
“People are terrified and worried about the future, worried that the rocket launching might continue,” said Farogh Danish, a Kabul resident near the wreckage of the vehicle from which the rockets were launched.
The rocket attack followed a Daesh suicide bombing outside the airport gates on Thursday, which killed at least 175 civilians and 13 US troops. Thousands of desperate Afghans have crowded outside the airport since the Taliban takeover on Aug. 15, scrambling to flee the country before the Tuesday deadline set by President Joe Biden for US forces to pull out.
Dr. Ahmad Khalid Raheen, a former program coordinator at the Ministry of Public Health, and his two brothers were among those killed in Thursday’s attack.
“Ahmad and his brothers came from Uzbekistan thinking Kabul was the only route to travel to the US, but he never knew that this would be the final trip of his life,” Abdurab Khaliqi, 45, a relative, told Arab News.
Mehrullah Mehrzad, 36, a former Afghan government employee, has been making regular trips to the airport for the past three days to help family members return to their homes in the UK and the US, but in vain.
“The situation is so difficult, you cannot imagine what is going on. I am so concerned for my family as the final timetable for evacuating Afghan citizens is near to its end, still we have no hope,” he told
“I am trying to take them out but, due to the security threats and the crowds, I don’t know what to do.”
The Taliban said on Monday they were “committed” to letting Afghans with valid documents leave the country, but urged them “to stay and work for the development of the nation.”
But experts were skeptical. “This is to make Afghan citizens believe the Taliban is committed to the rights of all citizens,” Ahmad Saeedi, a political analyst in Kabul, told Arab News. “But … they will never let anyone travel out of the country easily.”