A U.S. drone strike killed three children and wounded an adult in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province on Monday, according to the provincial governor’s office. The family of the dead children said they were playing outside when they were hit by a missile fired from a drone operated by the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
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Samia Ahmadi, whose father and fiancée were murdered in a US drone attack on a home in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Sunday. Credit… The New York Times’ Jim Huylebroek
Defense Department sources claimed that a truck packed with explosives was blown up by a US military drone attack in Kabul on Sunday, removing a threat to Kabul’s airport from the Islamic State Khorasan organization.
Survivors and neighbors claimed the attack killed ten people, including seven children, an aid worker for an American charity, and a US military contractor, at a family house in Kabul on Monday.
According to family and coworkers questioned in Kabul, Zemari Ahmadi, who works for the nonprofit group Nutrition and Education International, was on his way home from work after dropping off colleagues on Sunday evening.
When he drove onto the small street where he resided with his three brothers and their families, the children rushed outside to welcome him, spotting his white Toyota Corolla. As he drove the vehicle into their home’s courtyard, some climbed aboard on the street while others crowded around.
It was then when the drone was said to have hit.
The rocket slammed into the back of the Corolla in the family’s walled enclosure, ripping out doors, breaking windows, and showering shrapnel. Mr. Ahmadi and several of the children were murdered inside his vehicle, while others died in nearby rooms, according to family members. Three of the deceased children were transported by ambulance from the house on Sunday, according to an Afghan official.
Samia, Mr. Ahmadi’s 21-year-old daughter, was inside when she was hit by the explosion wave. She said, “At first, I assumed it was the Taliban.” “However, it was the Americans that accomplished it.”
Samia said she stumbled outdoors, coughing, and witnessed her brothers and relatives’ corpses. She said, “I witnessed the whole incident.” “There were charred bits of flesh all over the place.”
Her fiancé, Ahmad Naser, 30, a former army officer and US military contractor who had traveled from Herat, Afghanistan, in the expectation of being evacuated from Kabul, was among the dead.
The US military carried out a drone strike on an Islamic State Khorasan truck intending to assault Hamid Karzai International Airport on Sunday, according to a spokesman for US Central Command. On Thursday, the organization claimed responsibility for a suicide attack at the airport.
The spokesperson, Capt. Bill Urban, confirmed a previous statement that the military struck a legitimate target, an explosives-laden vehicle, on Monday. He also said that the military was looking into reports of civilian deaths.
Mr. Ahmadi worked as a technical engineer for Nutrition and Education International, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Pasadena, California. His friends and relatives claimed that the engineer and his family, many of whom had previously served for Afghan security services, had no ties to any terrorist organization.
Mr. Naser’s application for a Special Immigrant Visa was based on his work as a guard at Camp Lawton in Herat, and they supplied papers relating to his lengthy job with the American charity.
In an email, NEI President Steven Kwon stated of Mr. Ahmadi, “He was highly regarded by his colleagues and sympathetic towards the underprivileged and needy.” Mr. Ahmadi had recently “prepared and distributed soy-based meals to hungry women and children in nearby refugee camps in Kabul,” according to him.
Eric Schmitt, Najim Rahim, and Helene Cooper provided reporting.
After several rockets were launched in Kabul on Monday, Taliban militants investigated a damaged vehicle. Credit: Getty Images/Wakil Kohsar/Agence France-Presse
As the US troops rushed to meet a Tuesday deadline to leave the nation’s longest conflict, intermittent bloodshed in Kabul highlighted the dangers that lie ahead for a country already beset by instability, a humanitarian crisis, and a terrorist threat.
On Monday morning, the US military fired down rockets aiming at the Kabul airport, a day after one of its drones hit a vehicle laden with explosives. Before withdrawing on Tuesday, the US has warned that additional assaults, like as the one that killed almost 200 people last week outside the airport, are conceivable. That explosion, which also killed US soldiers, was claimed by Islamic State Khorasan.
According to The Associated Press, the organization also claimed credit for the rocket launch on Monday.
With just two days before President Biden’s deadline to complete the pullout after almost 20 years of war, the military’s actions highlight the precariousness of the security situation in the Afghan capital and the risks of an impending security vacuum.
A counter-rocket system knocked down the rockets targeted for the airport, according to a US official, and there were no early reports of fatalities. The perpetrators of the rockets were not immediately identified. According to the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss operational specifics, the airport remained open.
The White House said early Monday that about 1,200 individuals had been evacuated from Kabul in the previous 24 hours.
It came after another US attack on Sunday, when a US military drone strike in Kabul blew up a truck loaded with explosives and heading toward the airport, according to authorities. According to Afghans, the drone attack killed up to nine people, including children, and the US military has launched an investigation.
Even as Kabul was engulfed in bloodshed, the US was frantically preparing for its withdrawal, including the evacuation of the 300 Americans who remained in the Afghan capital.
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said on Sunday that the US is unlikely to retain diplomats in Afghanistan after the military leaves.
Officials said they anticipated the US to establish a diplomatic office for Afghanistan in another nation in the area, in part to continue assisting the projected influx of refugees in obtaining required departure papers. Given the substantial Afghan diaspora in both countries, the initiative might be headquartered in Pakistan or the United Arab Emirates, according to an official.
On Monday, people gathered around a burning vehicle said to have been used to launch rockets into Kabul’s airport. Some of the missiles were intercepted by the US military using a defensive system. Reuters/Aamaj News Agency/Reuters/Reuters/Reuters/Reuters/Reuters/Reuters/Reuters/Reuters/Reuters/Reuters/
Defense authorities recognized the potential that people were killed following Sunday’s drone attack in a statement released Sunday evening, as the US seemed keen on undertaking defensive operations ahead of its withdrawal.
The strike, according to Samim, a 25-year-old journalism student, killed his father, two brothers, four young cousins, his niece, and his sister’s fiancé. He claimed that three of the deceased were girls aged two or less, and that his aunt and uncle had lost all three of their children.
He said, “The American planes targeted us.” “I don’t know what to say; they simply chopped off my arms and shattered my back; I don’t know what more to say.”
Four corpses were transported to a local hospital, two of which were youngsters, according to a doctor.
Last week, people were escorted out of the Kabul airport’s Abbey Gate area. Credit… The New York Times’ Jim Huylebroek
The suicide bomber that murdered more than 170 people gathered outside Kabul’s airport’s Abbey Gate on Thursday also shattered a family who had gathered there in the hopes of fleeing.
Zakya Stanekzai, Ahmad Wali Stanekzai’s wife, perished as a result of the explosion. He was unable to locate his three children, Mina, Ahmad Faisal, and Masiullah, who had vanished in the chaos after the explosion.
Masiullah, a teenager, was stunned by the explosion and phoned his aunt in Virginia, Ferishta Stanekzai.
“I don’t know what happened to my parents, dad, brother, and sister, but I’m here alone, and there’s gunfire, and I don’t know where I should go,” Ms. Stanekzai said in an interview on Sunday.
Ms. Stanekzai started answering the phones with the assistance of Lt. Gen. John A. Bradley, a former Air Force commander who has been attempting to rescue hundreds of Afghans in the two weeks since the Taliban took Kabul. Ms. Stanekzai and General Bradley, who have been in touch with Mr. Stanekzai and other family and neighbors, provided the basis for this narrative.
Mr. Stanekzai’s family was one of the Afghans that General Bradley attempted to assist. They had gone to Kabul’s airport in a desperate effort to board an aircraft with General Bradley’s paperwork, but no formal permission to do so. The Islamic State Khorasan, the terrorist group’s Afghan branch, assaulted the gate as they attempted to find a way out of the country.
“Finally, we reach out to my brother, and he says, ‘I don’t know about my two kids, but I lost my wife,’” Ms. Stanekzai said.
Mr. Stanekzai started looking for his lost children at Kabul hospitals and was eventually reunited with his eldest son. However, he and Ms. Stanekzai were unable to locate their other two children, and they enlisted the help of hundreds of friends and neighbors to search the city.
They eventually discovered that the youngsters had boarded an aircraft with Imran Ibrahim, a neighbor. Mr. Stanekzai, on the other hand, had no idea where the aircraft was going.
Mr. Ibrahim was finally contacted by Ms. Stanekzai. He and the children had arrived in Germany, where the children were treated at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, near Ramstein Air Base, for injuries sustained in the Kabul explosion.
Mr. Stanekzai and Masiullah, on the other hand, are trapped in Kabul with no way out as President Biden’s deadline of August 31 approaches. They are just two of the tens of thousands of Afghans with ties to the US who are attempting to flee the country.
General Bradley and his family have appealed to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Virginia Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, and retired military commanders to contact President Biden or other authorities who might assist the Stanekzais get a flight out of Kabul, according to General Bradley.
A White House official and a Senator Warner aide indicated they were working on it, but a flight out for the Stanekzais has yet to be authorized, according to General Bradley.
Mr. Warner’s communications director, Rachel Cohen, wrote in an email on Sunday that “the security situation is making things extremely difficult,” adding that “this is a priority for us.”
Mr. Stanekzai and his son have been staying in a Kabul house, with the exception of a short trip to perform an Islamic burial for his wife.
To get to the airport, you’ll have to pass through Taliban checkpoints, congested streets, and the threat of another terrorist assault.
“I realize how tough it is, given how many precious young American lives have already been sacrificed in this operation, but I believe it is our country’s duty to reunite this family,” General Bradley said in an interview on Sunday.
Ms. Stanekzai expressed worry that her brother and nephew’s time was running short.
“‘What will happen if we don’t get out?’” says the narrator. In a recent discussion, Ms. Stanekzai claimed her nephew inquired. “I simply want to be with my brother and sister,” says the narrator.
The American University of Kabul’s campus. Credit…Hosay
Hundreds of students, families, and staff from the American University of Afghanistan gathered at a safe house on Sunday and boarded buses in what was meant to be the last effort at evacuation by US military planes, according to the students.
However, after seven hours of waiting for permission to enter the airport gates and driving around the city, the group came to a halt: evacuations had been canceled indefinitely. Security at the airport gates remained a concern, and civilian evacuations were set to conclude on Monday.
“I hate to tell you that the high command at HKIA in the airport has declared that there will be no further rescue flights,” said an email from the university administration to students on Sunday afternoon, which was shared with The New York Times.
“The scholar pilgrims who were turned away today while seeking safe passage to a brighter future need the assistance of the United States government, which provided them with the optimism they must not lose,” said Ian Bickford, president of American University.
The 600 or so students and family who received the email were urged to return home. The United States’ troop departure from Afghanistan must be finished by Tuesday, so the Pentagon is shifting its focus from evacuating civilians to returning its own troops.
Following procedure, the US military provided a list of names and passport details of hundreds of students and their families with Taliban manning airport checks, which worried the group, according to the university president.
Hosay, a 24-year-old sophomore studying business administration who was on the bus on Sunday, stated, “They informed us: we have provided your identities to the Taliban.” “Everyone is frightened; there is no evacuation and no way out.”
Hosay was awarded a scholarship that paid for half of her college expenses. She aspired to get a master’s degree in business administration and establish an all-female engineering company.
The vast, modern American University campus was one of the first places seized by the Taliban when they took over Kabul on Aug. 15. According to student and social media pictures, men dressed in traditional Afghan garb with AK-47 rifles tore down the university flag and hoisted the Taliban flag.
On social media, the Taliban uploaded a photo of themselves standing at the door of a university building with an ominous message, claiming that here is where America trains infidel “wolf” to poison Muslims’ brains.
The picture was extensively circulated among Afghans, prompting students and alumni to flee the country. They had every right to be afraid. The Taliban assaulted the university in 2016 with bombs and firearms in a ten-hour terrorist attack that killed 15 people, including seven students.
The institution closed its doors on Aug. 14 after receiving news that the Taliban had arrived on the outskirts of Kabul. Mr. Bickford and his international employees flew out of Kabul that night for Doha.
In an interview last week, Mr. Bickford said that he was working with the State Department to evacuate about 1,200 students and alumni. However, after the fatal assault on the airport on Friday, Mr. Bickford said that the task had become considerably more difficult.
Mr. Bickford said that the institution was dedicated to ensuring that all registered students were able to complete their degrees online.
The American University of Afghanistan first opened its doors in 2006, with $160 million in support from the US Agency for International Development. It was one of the biggest civilian projects in Afghanistan for the US.A.I.D.
After going from being college students to fugitives in the span of two weeks, pupils claimed they had suffered emotionally.
A lyrical Dari phrase was echoed by many students interviewed: “Our aspirations and dreams have turned to dust.”
Mohammad, a 31-year-old father of three who works part-time for a government agency, had three more classes to complete his business administration degree.
His employment and income are no longer available. His academic standing is in danger.
From a safe location, he said Sunday, “It’s like throwing a glass on a cement floor and your life shatters in a split second.”
Yasser, a 27-year-old political science student, said the university sent him an email on Saturday telling him to report to a secure place for evacuation. The plan was abandoned and everyone was sent home when President Biden claimed there were security concerns to the airport.
Yasser got another email from the university early Sunday morning, instructing him to report to a safe location at 7:45 a.m. Students were only allowed to carry a bag and two clothes. Hundreds of kids carrying bags and waiting by the side of the road are shown in videos shared with The New York Times of the evacuation. Hundreds of buses are waiting.
Someone gasps when the chitchat among students suddenly stops. Someone sheds a tear. The kids were recently informed that the evacuations had been canceled.
“It was a terrifying day,” Yasser reflected. “We went expecting to be saved, but we came home defeated.”
Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister, cautioned his American colleague that cooperation in Afghanistan would be contingent on Washington’s stance toward Beijing. Credit… Francis Malasig took this picture of the pool.
Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister, encouraged the US to negotiate with the Taliban and give Afghanistan with much-needed assistance.
Mr. Yang cautioned US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a phone conversation on Sunday that the Chinese government’s assistance on Afghanistan would be contingent on the US and its attitude toward Beijing. On its website, China’s foreign ministry detailed the conversation.
Mr. Wang advised Mr. Blinken that in order to keep Afghanistan from devolving more into anarchy, the Biden administration should retain communication with the Taliban. Beijing has had discussions with top Taliban leaders regarding the future of Afghanistan, which shares a short border with China, before the Taliban took control of Kabul earlier this month.
According to the foreign ministry, Mr. Wang said, “There has been a fundamental shift in internal events in Afghanistan, and all parties must engage in talks with the Taliban.” “The United States, in particular, must work with the international community to provide Afghanistan with economic, social welfare, and humanitarian aid, assisting Afghanistan’s new political structure in maintaining normal government operations while also ensuring social stability and public security.”
So far, the Chinese government has not said what kind of aid or other assistance it may give to Afghanistan, nor has it stated any criteria for recognizing a new Taliban-led administration in Kabul. Mr. Wang, on the other hand, indicated that Beijing’s readiness to collaborate with the Biden administration on such matters was contingent on the two superpowers reducing wider tensions.
The US has chastised China’s leadership for its security crackdown in Hong Kong, persecution of mainly Muslim minority in the Xinjiang region, and threats to Taiwan, a democratically administered island that Beijing considers to be a part of China.
Mr. Wang said, “Recently, China and the United States have opened up dialogue regarding Afghanistan, climate change, and other problems.” “Based on US views toward China, China will evaluate how to interact with the US. Stop continuously maligning and assaulting China and hurting Chinese sovereignty, security, and development interests if the US likewise wants Chinese-US ties to return to normal.”
On Thursday, Afghan refugees left a processing facility at the Dulles Expo Center in Virginia. Credit… The New York Times/Sarahbeth Maney
WASHINGTON, D.C. — After the US military leaves Afghanistan this week, the US and 97 other countries said on Sunday that they will continue to accept refugees fleeing the country, and that they had reached an agreement with the Taliban to provide safe passage for anyone escaping.
Sher Mohammed Abas Stanekzai, the Taliban’s senior negotiator, said on Friday that the organization would not prevent individuals from leaving, regardless of their nationality or if they had cooperated with the US during the 20-year conflict.
More than half of the world’s nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization said in a joint statement issued on Sunday that they had “got assurances from the Taliban” that anyone having travel papers proving they were cleared to enter any of those countries may safely leave.
The nations also promised to “maintain providing travel documents to selected Afghans,” citing the Taliban’s “clear expectation of and commitment to their safe passage.”
“We take notice of the Taliban’s public comments confirming this understanding,” the statement stated.
Russia and China, two permanent members of the United Nations Security Council who have promised to assist the Taliban in rebuilding Afghanistan, were conspicuously absent from the statement.
Although a senior State Department source said the statement was intended to send an implied message about incentives — specifically, foreign assistance to the government — that the international community would use to enforce the deal, it did not mention any penalties if the Taliban broke it.
On Saturday, Zalmay Khalilzad, the top American envoy to the Taliban peace negotiations, tweeted that the Taliban’s promises were “good” and that “we, our allies, and the international community will hold them to their obligations.”
This contrasted sharply with the tens of thousands of Afghans who, according to humanitarian organizations, dreaded being left behind and forced to live under Taliban control. Those who worked for the US military or the US Embassy since 2001 and were eligible to come to the US are included in this category.
On Sunday, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken told ABC News that 300 Americans were still awaiting evacuation from Kabul.
Mr. Blinken said, “We are very actively trying to assist them get to the airport, get on a plane, and get out of Afghanistan.”
When questioned about the Taliban’s promises, Mr. Blinken said that the US administration was not under any delusions.
He said, “I’m not suggesting we should believe the Taliban on anything.” “All I’m doing is relaying what one of their top commanders told the Afghan people.”
Neil Vigdor contributed to this story.
President Joe Biden, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin were present at Dover Air Force Base, Del., on Sunday to witness the Dignified Transfer of 13 service personnel murdered in the terrorist assaults in Afghanistan. Credit… The New York Times/David Mills
On Sunday, just after 8 a.m., a gray C-17 cargo aircraft arrived in Delaware. It was carrying the bodies of 11 Marines, a Navy medic, and an Army staff sergeant, who may be the final Americans killed in Afghanistan.
A second aircraft, a white-and-blue Boeing airliner, parked close to the transport just before 8:40. It was carrying the president who issued the orders to terminate the war after almost two decades, triggering the huge evacuation operation that those 13 military men were leading when a bomber from the Islamic State Khorasan group detonated his explosives at Kabul airport last week.
President Biden’s first journey as commander in chief to Dover to observe the transfer of remains served as a reminder of the war’s duration and cost, as well as his unique connection to it as a lawmaker, vice president, and now commander in chief.
Mr. Biden flew to Delaware on the spur of the moment for a rare presidential visit for the handover of remains of military personnel killed in combat. They were traveling from Afghanistan to Kuwait and Germany, where they would be laid to rest in towns throughout the country that had contributed sons and daughters to the two-decade-long “war on terror.”
The transfers started late in the morning and lasted almost 40 minutes, ending just after noon. Service men in various shades of green fatigues carried flag-draped transfer cases down the transport’s ramp, which confronted Air Force One on the runway, time and time again. The Army was first, followed by the Marines, and then the Navy. The carry teams marched in three-minute cycles in front of a slew of guests, including the president, the secretaries of state and defense, and a number of high-ranking military officials. They took the transport’s remnants and lifted them into four gray vehicles’ rear cargo doors.
On Sunday, the Marine Corps War Tribute in Arlington, Va., held a memorial for Sgt. Johanny Rosario, one of the US Marines killed this week in the explosion at the Kabul airport. Credit… Reuters/Elizabeth Frantz
Marine Sgt. Nicole Gee’s final picture from Afghanistan, which she sent with her family, shows her in dusty body armor with a weapon, her long blond hair tied back and her hands in tactical gloves. Those hands are gently holding a newborn among the turmoil of Kabul.
It was a scene recorded on the front lines of the airport, as tens of thousands of refugees were shepherded through chaotic and hazardous barbed wire gates by Marines working furiously. It demonstrated how, despite the chaos, many people took the time to console the survivors’ families.
“I enjoy my job,” the sergeant said in a brief note beside the picture.
Sergeant Gee was never found.
Gabriel Fuoco, her brother-in-law, stated, “She believed in what she was doing, she loved being a Marine.” “She wouldn’t have wanted to be anyplace else,” says the narrator.
Sergeant Gee, 23, of Roseville, California, was one of two uniformed women slain at the gate. Marine Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, 25, of Lawrence, Massachusetts, was the other. Sergeant Rosario was recognized by her unit in May for her performance in a supply chief position normally reserved for a higher-ranking officer.
Sergeant Rosario’s service “epitomizes what it means to be a Marine: placing herself in risk for the defense of American ideals so that others may enjoy them,” said Marine First Lt. John Coppola in a statement.
Women were not permitted to participate in battle throughout the majority of military history. The few Marines that were accepted mostly performed secretarial jobs. Women Marines were not assigned to gate duty when the war in Afghanistan began in 2001, according to Kate Germano, a former Marine lieutenant colonel.
However, insurgent battles waged in conservative Muslim nations for decades pushed the military to change.
All combat professions in the Marine Corps were gradually extended to women, often reluctantly. They currently account for approximately 9% of the military. “Every year, more women are out front, sharing the load more equally with men,” Ms. Germano said, “but it’s still a tiny proportion of the army compared to other military branches.”