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US 2nd drone strike destroys ISIS vehicle in Kabul which was to be used as a car bomb at airport

Black smoke rising into the sky from near a residential area close to the airport

The United States forces carried out another drone strike on Islamic State militants in Kabul on Sunday to destroy an ISIS-K vehicle which was to be used as a car bomb for another attack at the Kabul airport.

The Pentagon announced that the mission had been carried out in self defence and an “imminent” threat of an ISIS-K car bomb had been “taken out” with a successful hit of the target. 

Television footage showed black smoke rising into the sky from near a residential area close to the airport.

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

Also read:  Taliban arrests two Islamic State suspects from Malaysia after Kabul airport attack

The is the second drone carried out by U.S. forces in Afghanistan since an Islamic State suicide bomber struck the airport on Thursday, killing 13 U.S. troops and 170 Afghan civilians being evacuated from the country.

The Pentagon had said on Saturday retaliation drone strike carried out on Friday had killed two "high-level" ISIS-K facilitators and planners for terror operations in eastern Afghanistan bordering Pakistan

The U.S struck again on Sunday while the last batch of 1,000 civilians were being evacuated as part of the current mission from the Kabul airport before the troops finally leave.

"We want to ensure that every foreign civilian and those who are at risk are evacuated today. Forces will start flying out once this process is over," the a senior official told Reuters.

President Joe Biden had earlier on Sunday warned that another terrorist attack was highly likely at the Kabul airport as the US troops started withdrawing to meet the Aug 1 deadline for leaving Afghanistan.

"The situation on the ground continues to be extremely dangerous, and the threat of terrorist attacks on the airport remains high. "Our commanders informed me that an attack is highly likely in the next 24-36 hours," Biden had said.

The US embassy in Kabul later released an alert warning of credible threats at specific areas of the airport, including access gates.

A U.S. official told Reuters on Saturday there were fewer than 4,000 troops left at the airport, down from 5,800 at the peak of the evacuation mission.

Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby confirmed that the withdrawal of troops had begun at a press briefing in Washington but refused to disclose any numbers.

The massive US-led airlift has evacuated more than 112,000 people from Afghanistan since the Taliban took over Kabul on August 15 in a lightning move that caught everyone by surprise.

However, with the focus now shifting to evacuating military equipment and personnel, the number of civilians that can be accommodated on these flights has come down. The worst fears of the NATO allies that thousands may be left behind if Biden sticks to the August 31 deadline appear to be coming true.