Update 10:20 p.m.: U.S. Central Command acknowledged reports of potential civilian casualties in the wake of the American drone strike in Kabul on Sunday. Nine members of a single family were reportedly killed in the strike, a brother of one of the victims told CNN.
“We are aware of reports of civilian casualties following our strike on a vehicle in Kabul today,” spokesman Bill Urban said in a statement. “It is unclear what may have happened, and we are investigating further.”
The U.S. carried out a drone strike against a potential ISIS-K car bomb in Kabul that posed a threat to Hamid Karzai International Airport, U.S. Central Command spokesperson Capt. Bill Urban said on Sunday.
The strike killed “multiple suicide bombers” belonging to ISIS-K, U.S. officials told the Associated Press. ISIS-K is the same group that attacked the airport in a pair of suicide bombings on Thursday, killing 13 U.S. service members and close to 200 Afghans.
“U.S. military forces conducted a self-defense unmanned over-the-horizon airstrike today on a vehicle in Kabul, eliminating an imminent ISIS-K threat to Hamid Karzai International airport,” Urban said in a statement to reporters.
“Significant secondary explosions from the vehicle indicated the presence of a substantial amount of explosive material,” Urban added. “We are assessing the possibilities of civilian casualties, although we have no indications at this time.”
A Taliban spokesman also said the Sunday strike targeted the vehicle of a suicide bomber who was on route to the airport, according to the Associated Press.
The U.S. targeted an ISIS-K leader believed to be planning future attacks in a drone strike on Friday, with initial reports indicating that the militant was killed. The drone strike came a day after the ISIS-K attack on the Kabul airport.
President Biden warned in a written statement on Saturday that militants would likely attempt to attack the airport again in the next 24-36 hours.
“The situation on the ground continues to be extremely dangerous, and the threat of terrorist attacks on the airport remains high,” Biden said. “Our commanders informed me that an attack is highly likely in the next 24-36 hours.”
The Biden administration is attempting to withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan by Tuesday.