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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Smoke rises after an explosion in a Kabul neighborhood on Aug. 29. Photo: Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The U.S. launched a drone strike on Sunday targeting a vehicle that presented an "imminent ISIS-K threat" to Kabul’s international airport, U.S. Central Command spokesperson Capt. Bill Urban said in a statement.

Of note: Afghan officials and witnesses told several news outlets that at least three children were killed in the drone strike. Urban said in a later statement he was "aware of reports of civilian casualties following our strike" on the vehicle and officials were "still assessing" what happened.

What they're saying: Urban said officials "know" the drone strike "disrupted an imminent ISIS-K threat" to Kabul's airport.

  • "We know that there were substantial and powerful subsequent explosions resulting from the destruction of the vehicle, indicating a large amount of explosive material inside that may have caused additional casualties," Urban said.
  • "It is unclear what may have happened, and we are investigating further. We would be deeply saddened by any potential loss of innocent life."
  • Urban said in his earlier statement that officials were "confident we successfully hit the target," adding: "Significant secondary explosions from the vehicle indicated the presence of a substantial amount of explosive material."

The big picture: The U.S. Embassy in Kabul released an alert late Saturday that Americans should "immediately" leave the airport area due to "a specific, credible threat."

  • President Biden said on Saturday that U.S. commanders in Afghanistan told him earlier in the day that the threat of another terrorist attack near Kabul's airport was "highly likely in the next 24-36 hours."
  • Taliban security forces closed off Kabul’s airport to most Afghans seeking to evacuate Saturday, as the U.S. and its allies were wrapping up a "chaotic airlift," per AP.
  • The Sunday drone strike comes after the U.S. said it killed two ISIS-K targets on Friday night in response to the Kabul airport bombing, which killed as many as 170 people, in addition to 13 U.S. service members.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with Urban's later comment.

Go deeper

Environmentalists fight to save Bell Bowl Prairie

Photo by Joni Denker. Courtesy of the Natural Land Institute.

Environmental advocates are racing to try and save the Bell Bowl Prairie, a rare swath of Illinois prairie scheduled for destruction as part of the Chicago Rockford International Airport expansion. 

Why it matters: It's part of just .0001% of prairie land remaining in the state.

  • It supports a fragile ecosystem of endangered plant and animal life, including the black-billed cuckoo, the large-flowered penstemon and an important pollinator called the rusty patched bumblebee.
  • Construction was halted when the bumblebee was spotted on the land this summer but is set to resume on Nov. 1.
Mike Allen, author of AM
30 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Fauci fires back at Rand Paul for slam on tonight's "Axios on HBO"

Responding to charges by Sen. Rand Paul on Sunday's "Axios on HBO," NIAID director Anthony Fauci told "ABC This Week" that it's "molecularly impossible" for U.S.-funded bat virus research in China to have produced COVID-19.

Why it matters: The issue 0f Wuhan research was reignited on the right last week with a National Institutes of Health letter to Congress disclosing more about the research.

Manchin, Schumer huddle with Biden in Delaware to discuss spending bill

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (L) and Sen. Joe Manchin (R) at the U.S. Capitol on Nov. 13, 2014. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) will meet with President Biden and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Sunday morning in Delaware as Democrats look to reach an agreement on the massive spending measure.

Driving the news: Democrats are still negotiating what to keep in the bill and how to pay for it, with Biden saying on Thursday that the party does not have the votes to raise the corporate tax rate.