An American military base in Afghanistan came under rocket fire over the weekend, The Washington Times reported, as the U.S. continues to move toward withdrawing troops completely from the Middle Eastern nation.
The Times reports that the Pentagon didn’t explicitly name the group responsible for the attack, but it was suspected to have been carried out by the Taliban.
A spokesperson for U.S. Forces Afghanistan explained in a tweet that the Taliban’s strike was “ineffective” and resulted in “no injury to personnel or damage to equipment.”
“U.S. Forces conducted a precision strike this evening, destroying additional rockets aimed at the airfield,” Col. Sonny Leggett added.
The attack comes just weeks after President Biden announced his intention to have all U.S. forces out of Afghanistan by September. A withdrawal at that time would come a full 20 years after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
According to the Times, former President Donald Trump had previously declared a withdrawal date of May 1 under an agreement with Taliban leaders — a fact the militant terror group highlighted in a statement following the rocket attack.
“As withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan by agreed-upon May 1 deadline has passed, this violation in principle has opened the way for [the Taliban] to take every counteraction is deems appropriate against the occupying forces,” Afghanistan’s The Khaama Press quoted a Taliban representative as declaring.
“Bad possible outcomes”
The decision to leave Afghanistan after two decades of an American military presence there comes despite warnings from one top-ranking military official that the departure could signal a return to power by the Taliban.
“The Afghan army, do they stay together and remain a cohesive fighting force or do they fall apart?” Gen. Mark A. Milley told the Associated Press. “I think there’s a range of scenarios here, a range of outcomes, a range of possibilities.”
Milley, who was appointed by Trump as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2019, went on: “On the one hand you get some really dramatic, bad possible outcomes. On the other hand, you get a military that stays together and a government that stays together.”
“Make no mistake”
According to The Washington Times, NATO’s top commander in Afghanistan has promised that any attempted takeover in the country by the Taliban would face heavy pushback.
“A return to violence would be one senseless and tragic,” Gen. Austin “Scott” Miller reportedly said. “But make no mistake, we have the military means to respond forcefully to any type of attacks against the coalition and the military means to support the Afghan security forces,” he added.