The U.S. military conducted a drone strike on an Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group target in Afghanistan on Friday, the day after the terrorist group claimed credit for a suicide bombing attack that claimed the lives of 13 U.S. service members.
In an emailed statement to American Military News, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) spokesman Bill Urban said, “U.S. military forces conducted an over-the-horizon counterterrorism operation today against an ISIS-K planner. The unmanned airstrike occurred in the Nangahar Province of Afghanistan. Initial indications are that we killed the target. We know of no civilian casualties.”
On Thursday, the Afghan branch of ISIS, known as ISIS-Khorasan, or ISIS-K, claimed credit for the suicide deadly suicide bombing at the Kabul airport. The terrorist group even bragged about being able to sneak within five meters of U.S. troops before their suicide bomber detonated his explosives.
CENTCOM commander and Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie said his ‘working assumption’ is that Kabul airport suicide bomber detonated his explosives while being checked by U.S. service members at the Abbey Gate of the Kabul airport.
Following the suicide bombing, President Joe Biden vowed on Thursday, “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. I will defend our interests and our people with every measure at my command.”
McKenzie also said, “If we can find who’s associated with this [attack], we will go after them. We’ve been clear all along that we’re going to retain the right to operate against ISIS in Afghanistan. And we are working very hard right now to determine attribution. To determine who is associated with this cowardly attack. And we’re prepared to take action against them. 24/7, we are looking for them.”
In a White House press statement on Friday, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden’s national security team advised them “that another terror attack in Kabul is likely, but that they are taking maximum force protection measures at the Kabul Airport.”
Psaki said, “Our commanders also updated the President and Vice President on plans to develop ISIS-K targets. The next few days of this mission will be the most dangerous period to date.”
“The President reaffirmed with the commanders his approval of all authorities they need to conduct the operation and protect our troops, and all reported back that they have the resources they believe they need to do so effectively,” Psaki said.
On Friday, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said that “thousands” of ISIS-K terrorists had been released from the prison at the Bagram Air Base after U.S. forces abandoned the airfield on July 1, during the U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.