US Launches Airstrike Targeting ISIS-K In Afghanistan

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The Pentagon said it launched a drone attack against an ISIS- K member in Afghanistan on Saturday morning.

The target was an unidentified ‘planner’ believed to have been involved in planning the attacks in Kabul

The retaliatory strike was reported to be a success having killed its target and resulting in no civilian casualties. 

US Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement that “Initial indications are that we killed the target. We know of no civilian casualties”

RT reports: The target was described as “an ISIS-K planner” by CENTCOM spokesman Capt. Bill Urban, but was not identified in the report.

The strike was launched from outside of Afghanistan at the orders of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, after President Joe Biden authorized the operation, the AP reported, citing an anonymous defense official.

Urban did not say if the alleged “planner” was specifically involved in plotting a major attack on the Kabul airport on Thursday, which killed 13 US servicemen, two British nationals and some 90 Afghans, including 28 Taliban members.

In the wake of the Kabul attack, Biden said that he had already ordered the Pentagon to prepare an operational plan to strike “ISIS-K assets,” but gave no indication of when that would happen. “We will respond with force and precision at our time, at the place we choose and at the moment of our choosing,” Biden said on Thursday, vowing to “hunt down” those responsible for the bombing.

US officials, including Biden, have repeatedly sounded alarms about the growing threat of attacks from ISIS-K, an Islamic State splinter group, as Washington’s frantic evacuation effort entered its final days. The Biden administration has repeatedly pledged to wrap up the evacuation by August 31, a deadline the Taliban has refused to extend. The group claimed on Friday that it had already taken over several locations in the military-controlled portion of the Kabul airport in anticipation of the complete withdrawal of American forces.

The counter-attack on ISIS-K also came hours after the US Embassy in Afghanistan urged Americans to stay away from the Kabul airport’s Abbey gate, East gate, North gate as well as the New Ministry of Interior gate. Those who were already there were encouraged to “leave immediately” in light of security threats at the air hub.  

The strike was conducted in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province in the country’s east, thought to be a stronghold for the ISIS affiliate. Nangarhar is located to the east of Kabul province, along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

Niamh Harris
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