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Kabul airport targeted by rockets day before U.S. military withdrawal deadline

In this satellite photo taken by Planet Labs Inc., the military side of Kabul’s international airport is seen as a military flight taxing on the tarmac Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021. Taliban forces sealed off Kabul's airport Saturday to most Afghans hoping for evacuation, as the U.S. and its allies were ending a chaotic airlift that will end their troops' two decades in Afghanistan. (Planet Labs Inc. via AP)

Rockets were intercepted by U.S. forces Monday after they were fired at Kabul airport

It comes a day before the U.S. is set to withdraw from Afghanistan, ending its 20-year-war

Global superpowers will meet virtually Monday to discuss next steps for Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (NEWS 1130) — The U.S. military says five rockets targeted the Kabul airport Monday morning just days after a suicide bombing killed at least 169 Afghans and 13 U.S. service members.

Monday’s attack was intercepted by the U.S. forces on the airfield through the use of a defensive system. There are no reports of any injuries. The Islamic State (IS) group’s affiliate in Afghanistan has claimed responsibility for the most recent attack, as well as the deadly bombing.

The Taliban have honored a pledge not to attack Western forces so long as they evacuate by Tuesday, but IS remains a threat. The U.S. carried out a drone strike Saturday that it said killed two IS members. On Sunday, a U.S. drone strike blew up a vehicle carrying IS suicide bombers before they could attack the airport, American officials said.

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Meantime, evacuation flights continue ahead of the Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline. U.S. officials say they have the capacity to airlift about 300 American citizens, but have not provided exact details due to safety concerns. The Pentagon has also not said if final operations will be complete ahead of the deadline.

A meeting will be held with global heavyweights on Monday to discuss a coordinated approach for the days ahead. The tiny Gulf Arab state of Qatar will also be at the meeting and is expected to help shape what is next for Afghanistan. Qatar played an outsized role in the U.S. evacuation efforts, and has ties to both Washington and the Taliban.

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The U.S. said more than 110,000 people have been rescued from Afghanistan since mid-August, when the Taliban took over the capital. Nearly 40 per cent of all evacuees were moved out via Qatar, leading to praise from Washington.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada supports a move by several other countries to have a safe zone established at the airport, which would be set up after the U.S. leaves. Proposed by the United Nations, the safe zone also has support from France, Germany and the United Kingdom.

With files from The Canadian Press and The Associated Press