By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
(Worthy News) – The United States has carried out a drone strike against an Islamic State (IS) group “planner” in eastern Afghanistan after an attack outside Kabul’s airport killed 13 U.S. troops and at least 169 Afghans, officials say.
“Initial indications are that we killed the target. We know of no civilian casualties,” a U.S.. military statement stressed. The target, apparently hit by an unmanned drone, belonged to ISIS-K, an affiliate of the Islamic State terror group that established a caliphate in Syria and Iraq, the military confirmed.
The Islamic State was nearly destroyed under former U.S. President Donald J. Trump. Still, affiliates such as ISIS-K have since emerged, underscoring the difficulties faced by Washington to wipe them out and prevent new attacks completely.
The strike came after Thursday’s suicide bombing around Kabul airport, targeting the U.S.-led evacuation. The death toll in that attack rose to 169 Afghans, a number that could increase as authorities examine fragmented remains and 13 U.S. service members, according to investigators.
The Pentagon also said it determined that the attack at the Kabul airport on Thursday involved only one location and not two, as was previously reported. It said there was one Islamic State-linked suicide bomber who struck at the Abbey Gate, where desperate Afghans were crowding to try and enter Kabul airport grounds and where U.S. troops were conducting security checks.
Thursday’s attack on the Hamid Karzai International Airport was the deadliest day for American forces in Afghanistan in a decade.
U.S. Central Command said American officials believed the militant killed in Saturday’s retaliatory drone strike had been involved in planning strikes against the United States in Kabul and that there were no other known casualties.
As the airstrike was underway, the U.S. embassy reportedly warned Americans to leave the airport gates “immediately.”
U.S. Central Command said the attack killed one individual, and spokesman Navy Captain William Urban explained they knew no civilian casualties.
The airstrike seemed to fulfill a commitment U.S. President Joe Biden made on Thursday when he said the perpetrators of the attack outside Kabul airport would not be able to hide.
“We will hunt you down and make you pay,” he said during the briefing in which he asked Americans to remember those who died.
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