At least five rockets fired at Kabul airport were intercepted by US missile defence system, a US official says as US Central Command begins probe into whether civilians were killed in an air strike that destroyed a vehicle a day earlier.
As many as five rockets were fired at Kabul's international airport but were intercepted by a missile defence system, a US official has told Reuters, as the United States' nears the complete withdrawal of its troops from the city.
The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the rockets were fired early on Monday morning Kabul time, though it was unclear if all were brought down by the defence system.
Initial reports did not indicate any US casualties, but that information could change, the official said.
The Daesh group’s affiliate in Afghanistan claimed responsibility for the rocket attacks, saying it fired at least six Katyusha rockets at the airport.
The rockets stuck a neighbourhood close to the Kabul airport.
The claim of responsibility was carried by the militant group’s media arm, the Aamaq news agency. It didn't provide further details.
Taliban to crack down on attacks
The Taliban's spokesman says the group will crack down on Daesh attacks and expects them to end once foreign forces leave the country.
"We hope that those Afghans who are influenced by IS... will give up their operations on seeing the formation of an Islamic government in the absence of foreigners," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told AFP in a weekend interview.
"If they create a situation for war and continue with their operations, the Islamic government... we will deal with them," he added.
A devastating suicide bomb attack claimed by Daesh outside Kabul airport on Thursday killed scores of people who were hoping to flee the country, as well as 13 US service members.
Retaliatory or pre-emptive strikes by the United States on Daesh positions over the past few days have angered the movement, however.
The Pentagon said it carried out a drone strike Sunday against a vehicle threatening Kabul airport that had been linked to Daesh.
"There is no permission for them to do such operations... our independence must be respected," he said.
'Assessing the results'
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the US Central Command (CENTCOM) said that Washington is investigating whether civilians may have been killed in an air strike it launched to destroy a car laden with explosives in the Afghan capital Kabul.
The statement came on Sunday after CNN reported that nine members of a family, including six children, were killed in Sunday's air strike in the crowded capital, where thousands of Afghans are still trying to flee the Taliban.
Local media also reported that civilians were killed in the strike.
"We are aware of reports of civilian casualties following our strike on a vehicle in Kabul today," Captain Bill Urban, a CENTCOM spokesman, said in a statement.
"We are still assessing the results of this strike, which we know disrupted an imminent ISIS-K (Daesh-K) threat to the airport," he continued, using an acronym for the Afghan branch of the Daesh terror group, which carried out a suicide attack at the airport on Thursday.
"We know that there were substantial and powerful subsequent explosions resulting from the destruction of the vehicle, indicating a large amount of explosive material inside that may have caused additional casualties," Urban continued.
"It is unclear what may have happened, and we are investigating further.
"We would be deeply saddened by any potential loss of innocent life," he said.
Eve of evacuation deadline
About 114,000 people have been evacuated since August 15, when the Taliban swept back into power. The American withdrawal from Afghanistan is due to be completed by Tuesday.
Daesh has been highly critical of the troop withdrawal deal struck between the Taliban and Washington last year, which saw the Taliban offer security guarantees.
One Daesh commentary published after the fall of Kabul accused the Taliban of betraying militants with the US withdrawal deal and vowed to continue its fight, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors militant communications.
During the Taliban's prison break spree this summer to free its fighters, many battle-hardened Daesh members were also released – increasingly looking like a lethal error.