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August 29 Afghanistan-Taliban news

What we're covering

  • Thirteen US service members were killed and 18 were injured in an attack at Kabul's airport, the head of the US Central Command said.
  • More than 170 people were killed and at least 200 were wounded, an official with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health tells CNN.
  • The attack comes as the US and other countries race to evacuate people ahead of President Biden's Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline.
Our live coverage of the situation in Afghanistan has moved here.
11:43 p.m. ET, August 29, 2021

As many as 5 rockets fired on Kabul airport, US official tells CNN

As many as five rockets were fired at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on Monday local time, a US official told CNN.

The C-RAM defense system -- designed to protect ground forces against rockets, artillery and mortars -- installed at the airport engaged with the rockets, the official said.

There are no reports of any casualties at this time, the official said.

11:25 p.m. ET, August 29, 2021

Unidentified blast in Kabul, say residents and local media

Residents of Kabul and local media said a blast was heard in the early morning hours, local time, in the Afghan capital.

There was no clear indication of what kind of explosion it was or any official confirmation of the source of the blast.

10:46 p.m. ET, August 29, 2021

Defense secretary: Killed service members "were and will be forever remembered as heroes”

In a statement on Sunday, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said the service members killed in Afghanistan "made the ultimate sacrifice so that others could live." 

"They were and will be forever remembered as heroes," he added.

"My heart and my thoughts are with their families, especially today. They, too, have made the ultimate sacrifice," Austin said.

The remains of 13 American service members killed in the Kabul airport bomb attack arrived Sunday morning to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

President Biden was in attendance, along with Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley and others. 

7:35 p.m. ET, August 29, 2021

US says a secondary explosion after a strike against an ISIS-K threat "may have caused" civilian casualties 

The US military acknowledged Sunday night that there are reports of civilian casualties following a US airstrike against a vehicle in Kabul deemed to be “an imminent ISIS-K threat.”  

A spokesperson for US Central Command said “powerful subsequent explosions resulting from the destruction of the vehicle, indicating a large amount of explosive material inside that may have caused additional casualties.”

Note: The term “casualties” can refer to wounded or dead.

“We are aware of reports of civilian casualties following our strike on a vehicle in Kabul today,” Capt. Bill Urban, spokesperson for US Central Command, said in a statement. “We would be deeply saddened by any potential loss of innocent life."

US CENTCOM originally said there were no indications of civilian casualties.

CNN reported earlier that multiple members from a family, including children were killed in the US strike in Kabul, a relative of those killed told CNN.

8:50 p.m. ET, August 29, 2021

9 family members killed after US strike in residential area of Kabul, eyewitnesses say

Nine members of one family were killed in a US drone strike targeting a vehicle in a residential neighborhood of Kabul, according to a relative of those killed.

Those killed included six children, the youngest being a 2-year-old girl, the brother of one of the dead told a local journalist working with CNN.  

He said the people killed were his brother Zamaray (40 years old), Naseer (30), Zameer (20), Faisal (10), Farzad (9), Armin (4), Benyamin (3), Ayat (2) and Sumaya (2). 

The brother cried as he told the journalist that they were "an ordinary family."

"We are not ISIS or Daesh and this was a family home — where my brothers lived with their families," he said.

CNN obtained images of the aftermath of the strike. A US official confirmed the location in Kabul's Khaje Bughra neighborhood. US Central Command said earlier they were assessing the possibilities of civilian casualties. 

A man named Ahad, who said he was a neighbor of the family, told CNN: "All the neighbors tried to help and brought water to put out the fire and I saw that there were 5 or 6 people dead. The father of the family and another young boy and there were two children. They were dead. They were in pieces. There were [also] two wounded."  

Ahad told CNN he had witnessed the airstrike at around 5 p.m. local time as he walked towards his home. He said he heard the noise of the rocket and a loud bang, and ducked for cover, before trying to help rescue his neighbors. Ahad told CNN that two other people were wounded in the attack.

The US military said in its statement “significant secondary explosions from the vehicle indicated the presence of a substantial amount of explosive material,” the spokesperson said. 

A local journalist who visited the scene soon after the airstrike told CNN that "whatever material was in the car, I don’t know. The car was in a very bad state, just a skeleton of the car was left."  

The journalist — who is not being named for security reasons — was told by family members of the deceased that there were two cars parked at the home: One was a Corona and the other was a Camry.

The journalist said he'd been told that one of the cars contained one of the fathers and his three children getting ready to go to a family event.  


8:52 p.m. ET, August 29, 2021

French President: "I cannot guarantee" rescue of Afghans still in Kabul

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks at a press conference following his meeting with Kurdish President Nechirvan Barzani in Irbil, Iraq, on Sunday, August 29. Hadi Mizban/AP

French President Emmanuel Macron has said that “several hundred, several thousand” women and men in need of protection from the Taliban were left in Kabul after French forces pulled out.

In a message to those Afghans left behind, Macron promised, “with our partners and also through negotiations with the Taliban” to allow them to leave Afghanistan.

“Will we be able to do it? I cannot guarantee you that,” he said in an interview with French channel TF1.

The last French evacuation flight left Kabul on Friday, with the final French diplomatic and military forces arriving in France Sunday.

The French President also referenced a joint French, British and German proposal at the United Nations Security Council to establish a “safe zone” at an airport in Kabul to allow evacuations to continue. 

Macron said that such a move would pressure the Taliban to live up to their promises.

“If you want to move forward and have a country open to the rest of the region and the world, you must respect humanitarian rules and allow all women and men who want to, to be protected,” he said.

However, the French President said that negotiations with the Taliban did not presuppose a recognition of their government. This recognition, he said, would be conditional on three things: the Taliban’s respect the protection of all those that wish to leave Afghanistan; their distancing themselves from terrorist movements; and their respect for human rights and, “in particular, the dignity of Afghan women.” 

8:53 p.m. ET, August 29, 2021

Taliban condemn US drone strike in Kabul

A view of damage after a US drone strike reportedly hit near the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 29, 2021. Stringer/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

The Taliban on Sunday condemned a US drone strike against a suspected ISIS-K suicide bomber in Kabul, saying the United States had violated Afghanistan's sovereignty. 

Bilal Kareemi, a Taliban spokesperson, told CNN that it was "not right to conduct operations on others' soil" and that the US should have informed the Taliban. 

"Whenever the US conducts such operations, we condemn them," Kareemi said.

US Central Command said earlier that said the airstrike on a vehicle in Kabul targeted an “an imminent ISIS-K threat to Hamid Karzai International Airport.” 

1:22 p.m. ET, August 29, 2021

President Biden attended the dignified transfer of service members killed in Kabul attack

US President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden attend the dignified transfer of 13 service members at Dover Air Force Base in Dover, Delaware, on August 29, 2021. The service members were killed in Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 26, 2021. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

President Biden and first lady Jill Biden attended the dignified transfer of 13 service members killed in Kabul on Thursday.

Out of the 13 who died, the families of 11 service members allowed the media to cover the transfers at Dover Air Force Base on Sunday. 

Biden and the first lady were joined by other military and administration officials, including Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley and Secretary of State Antony Blinken. 

The President also met with families of the deceased behind closed doors during his visit to the base.


12:19 p.m. ET, August 29, 2021

Vehicle targeted by US strike Sunday contained a suicide bomber, US official says

The vehicle that was targeted by the US in Sunday’s strike on Kabul was next to a building and contained one suicide bomber, a US official told CNN.

It remains unclear if the vehicle was intended to be a car bomb, or if the suicide bomber was using it for transport.

"It was loaded up and ready to go,” the official told CNN.

A Pentagon official told CNN that based on initial reports, this was an unmanned drone strike on a vehicle containing what they believe were multiple suicide bombers.

Earlier, US CENTCOM said the airstrike on a vehicle in Kabul eliminated “an imminent ISIS-K threat to Hamid Karzai International Airport.”