By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
News about the casualties emerged after the U.S. said it killed those preparing to attack the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, the capital.
The Cable News Network (CNN), citing relatives and a local journalist, reported that nine members of one family, including six children, were killed in the strike targeting a vehicle in a residential neighborhood of Kabul.
The youngest child was a two-year-old girl, the brother of one of the dead told a local journalist working with CNN.
In a reaction, the U.S. Central Command said it was aware of reports of civilian casualties and is assessing the strike’s results.
Navy Captain William Urban, the spokesman for Central Command, said that “substantial and powerful” subsequent explosions resulted from the vehicle’s destruction, which may have caused additional casualties.
The strike, carried out by an unmanned aircraft, was the second by U.S. forces in Afghanistan since an Islamic State suicide bomber struck the airport on Thursday.
That attack killed 13 U.S. troops and as many as 169 Afghans, including Taliban fighters and scores of civilians trying to flee the country, several sources said.
Sunday’s drone strike took place as Biden headed to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to honor the U.S. service members killed in Thursday’s suicide bombing.
Sunday’s strike came just two days before the U.S. is set to conclude a massive two-week-long airlift of more than 114,000 Afghans and foreigners.
U.S. President Joe Biden warned over the weekend that the situation on the ground in Kabul remained extremely dangerous.
He stressed his military chiefs had told him another militant attack was highly likely within the next 24-36 hours.
President Biden, appearing frail and at times stumbling, has said he would continue the withdrawal of the last U.S. forces by August 31 to end America’s longest war.
U.S. officials reportedly said they were concerned about the local affiliate of the Islamic State (ISIS-K) attacking the airport as American troops depart, particularly the threat from rockets and vehicle-borne explosives.
But critics warn that thousands of Afghan allies, as well as Americans, may stay behind and will become hostages.
If they aren’t allowed to leave by Afghanistan’s Islamist Taliban rulers, it could turn into the worst hostage drama for the United States since 1979. In that year, Iranian students seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran.
The Iranian hostage-takers detained more than 50 Americans, ranging from the Chargé d’Affaires to the most junior staff members, as hostages. They held the American diplomats hostage, for 444 days.
However, decades later, U.S. military experts fear that this time as many as thousands of Americans and Afghan allies of the U.S.-led coalition could potentially be held as ransom by the Taliban in Afghanistan.
And with the United States continuing to withdraw troops, officials say concerns about another Islamic State attack will mount in Afghanistan and beyond.
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