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Rockets fired at Kabul airport as US rushes to complete evacuation

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

US Central Command said it was investigating reports of civilian casualties from the strike, the second by the US military against suspected IS-K militants.

An Afghan official has said three children were killed in the strike near Kabul’s airport. Witnesses to the blast say several citizens were killed or wounded.

The vehicle damaged by a rocket attack in Kabul.

The vehicle damaged by a rocket attack in Kabul.Credit:AP

The United States and allies have evacuated about 114,400 people – including foreign nationals and vulnerable Afghans – in an operation that began a day before Kabul fell to the Taliban on August 15, but tens of thousands more desperate Afghans face being left behind.

“We tried every option because our lives are in danger. They [the Americans or foreign powers] must show us a way to be saved. We should leave Afghanistan or they should provide a safe place for us,” said one woman outside the airport.

Two US officials said final evacuations would prioritise people deemed at extreme risk. Other countries have also put in last minute requests to bring out people under that category, the officials said.

A destroyed vehicle at a house after a US drone strike in Kabul on Sunday.

A destroyed vehicle at a house after a US drone strike in Kabul on Sunday. Credit:AP

US President Joe Biden attended a ceremony on Sunday at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to honour members of the US military killed in Thursday’s attack.

Biden shut his eyes and tilted his head back as the flag-draped transfer caskets carrying the remains emerged from a military plane.

None of the fallen service members was over the age of 31, and five were just 20, as old as the war in Afghanistan itself.

Biden has vowed to avenge the Islamic State attack.

President Joe Biden returns a salute as he and first lady Jill Biden arrive at Dover Air Force Base on Sunday.

President Joe Biden returns a salute as he and first lady Jill Biden arrive at Dover Air Force Base on Sunday.Credit:

The departure of the last troops will mark the end of the US-led military intervention in Afghanistan, which began in late 2001, after the al-Qaeda September 11 attacks on the United States.

US-backed forces ousted a Taliban government that had provided safe haven for al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who was finally killed by US forces in Pakistan in 2011, and have involved in a counter-insurgency war against the Islamist militants for the past two decades.

The Taliban’s 1996-2001 rule was marked by a harsh version of sharia, Islamic law, with many political rights and basic freedoms curtailed and women severely oppressed.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid has said the group will announce a full cabinet in the coming days, and that the difficulties will subside quickly once the new administration is up and running.

But with its economy shattered by decades of war, Afghanistan now faces a sudden halt in inflows of billions of dollars in foreign aid.

Reuters, AP

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