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Kabul airport attack: Narrow escape for 180 SpiceJet passengers

Kabul airport attack: Narrow escape for 180 SpiceJet passengers

New Delhi: Nearly 180 passengers and crew on board a Delhi-bound SpiceJet plane from Kabul had a narrow escape on Wednesday when the Taliban launched a rocket attack on the Hamid Karzai International Airport in the Afghan capital.

At the time of the rocket attack, SpiceJet’s SG 22 Kabul-Delhi flight was preparing for take off at the airport.

“The boarding for SpiceJet flight SG 22 operating Kabul- Delhi was almost complete when the incident took place. Passengers and crew were safely deboarded and taken to the terminal building. There was no damage to the aircraft,” a SpiceJet spokesperson said.

Several rockets were reportedly fired toward the airport in the Afghan capital. One of the rockets struck a home near the airport, wounding five persons.

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The Taliban has said on Twitter that US defence secretary Jim Mattis, who was visiting Kabul, was the target of the attack.

The SpiceJet flight was scheduled for take off at 11.20am but as the Kabul airport came under attack, the passengers were made to deboard the plane and were escorted to the terminal building.

SpiceJet operates five flights every week to Kabul. Air India too has direct flights to Kabul four times a week but did not have a flight scheduled today, according to an airline source.

The attack came hours after Mattis arrived in the Afghan capital, the first member of Donald Trump cabinet to visit the war-torn country since his pledge to stay the course in America’s longest war.