Harambe: AP News: Rocket blast at US Embassy in Kabul on 9/11 anniversary

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A rocket exploded at the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan just minutes into Wednesday, the anniversary of the 9/11 attack on the United States, but officials at the compound declared all-clear about an hour later and reported no injuries.

A plume of smoke rose over central Kabul shortly after midnight and sirens could be heard. Inside the embassy, employees heard this message over the loudspeaker: “An explosion caused by a rocket has occurred on compound.”

There was no immediate comment from Afghan officials. The NATO mission, which is nearby, also said no personnel had been injured.

It was the first major attack in the Afghan capital since President Donald Trump abruptly called off U.S.-Taliban talks over the weekend, on the brink of an apparent deal to end America’s longest war.

Two Taliban car bombs shook Kabul last week, killing several civilians and two members of the NATO mission. Trump has cited the death of a U.S. service member in one of those blasts as the reason why he now calls the U.S.-Taliban talks “dead.”

The 9/11 anniversary is a sensitive day in Afghanistan’s capital and one on which attacks have occurred. A U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan shortly after the 2001 attack toppled the Taliban, who had harbored Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaida leader and attacks mastermind.

In the nearly 18 years of fighting since then, the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan soared to 100,000 and dropped dramatically after bin Laden was killed in neighboring Pakistan in 2011.

Now about 14,000 U.S. troops remain and Trump has called it “ridiculous” that they are still in Afghanistan after so long and so many billions of dollars spent.

It is not clear whether the U.S.-Taliban talks will resume.

Harambe:  Defense Post: US and Iraq drops 80,000 pounds of bombs to clear ISIS from Iraqi island

U.S. and Iraqi forces on Tuesday dropped 36,000 kg (80,000 pounds) of ordnance on an island along the Tigris river occupied by Islamic State fighters, the U.S.-led Coalition said.

U.S. Air Force F-15 Strike Eagle and F-35A Lightning II aircraft alongside Iraqi air force aircraft bombed Qanus island in Saladin province overnight in an operation to destroy a major ISIS transit hub from Syria and the Jazeera desert into Mosul, Makhmour and Kirkuk in Iraq, CJTF-OIR said on September 10.

Qanus island is near the U.S. forward operating base in Qayyarah.

The 2nd Iraqi Special Operations Forces Battalion was leading ground operations in the area on Tuesday, the Coalition said.

Despite former Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi claiming victory over ISIS in 2017 the group has maintained sleeper cells across the country, primarily near the Syrian borderbut also in Kirkuk province.

The F-35A weapons payload is about 8,100 kg (18,000 lbs) while an F-15 can carry 13,380 kg (29,500 lbs).

    |   Category: TNT