US military carries out drone strike against ‘planner’ of Kabul airport attack
The US military said it had carried out a drone strike against a ‘planner’ of the Islamic State-Khorasan, the group which claimed credit for the deadly suicide bombing at Kabul airport.
“The unmanned airstrike occurred in the Nangarhar Province of Afghanistan. Initial indications are that we killed the target,” said Captain Bill Urban of the Central Command.
“We know of no civilian casualties,” he added in a statement announcing the first reported US strike since the attack.
The strike, launched from outside of Afghanistan, came as the airlift of evacuees from Kabul airport continued under much-heightened security after Thursday’s attack.
At least 78 people were killed, including 13 US troops, when a suicide attacker exploded a bomb in the dense crowd in front of the aiport’s Abbey Gate.
Some media reported that fatalities numbered close to 200. US officials said gunmen opened fire after the explosion, adding to the carnage.
The attack was carried out by the violent Afghan arm of the Islamic State group.
Following the attack US President Joe Biden vowed retaliation.
“To those who carried out this attack as well as anyone who wishes America harm, know this: We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay,” Biden said Thursday.
On Friday afternoon Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said they believe the group planned to strike the airlift again.
“We still believe there are credible threats… specific, credible threats,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon said 5,400 people are inside Kabul airport awaiting evacuation from Afghanistan.
General Hank Taylor said that in the 24 hours to 3:00 am Washington time, 12,500 more people had been evacuated in 89 US and coalition flights.
The United States, which has set a deadline of August 31 to complete the evacuation, will be able to airlift people out “until the last moment,” Taylor told reporters.
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