The United States launched in the early hours of this Saturday its first crackdown operation against targets of the Islamic State’s local branch in the Afghanistan, the ISIS-K. The attack, in retaliation for Thursday’s brutal attack by the jihadist group in Kabul that killed dozens of people, was launched with a drone and targeted a terrorist group’s base of operations in eastern Afghanistan, the Pentagon reported. Two of the organization’s “high-level” targets were killed in the US attack and another person was injured, Army General William “Hank” Taylor told a news conference. At first, the Pentagon only reported the death of a member of the jihadist group. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby declined to specify their role within the organization.
“US military forces carried out an anti-terrorist operation against an ISIS-K planner,” Captain Bill Urban, spokesman for US Central Command, had earlier declared. The attack took place in Nangarhar province, east of Kabul. “There is no record of civilian casualties,” added the spokesman. The US noted that the attack was directed against an ISIS-K member who was planning the group’s activities, but did not immediately clarify whether he was the mastermind of Thursday’s bombing.
The reprisal came 24 hours after US President Joe Biden promised to hunt down the perpetrators of the Kabul bombing, which killed 13 US soldiers and wounded nearly 20. “We will neither forgive nor forget. We will chase the terrorists and make them pay for it,” Biden said. His goal of avenging the soldiers’ deaths was confirmed on Friday by White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki: “The president doesn’t want [os terroristas] get back on the face of the Earth”.
An American official, quoted by Reuters on condition of anonymity, detailed that the drone took off from the Middle East and attacked the militant while he was in a car with another member of the Islamic State. Both are believed to have died, according to this source. In Jalalabad, capital of Nangarhar province, community elder Malik Adib said three people died and four were injured in Saturday’s zero hour air strike. “Among the victims there are women and children,” Adib told Reuters, without giving information about their identities.
Support news production like this. Subscribe to EL PAÍS for 30 days for 1 US$
The US response came hours after the Pentagon warned of the possibility of a new attack in the Kabul airport area. “We are prepared, in anticipation of future attacks,” US military spokesman John Kirby told reporters. “We closely monitor these threats, concrete, in real time. Our troops are in danger,” he added, referring to the 5,800 soldiers deployed at the airport to guarantee the withdrawal operations, which will officially end on Tuesday. In a meeting with members of the National Security Council, Biden was briefed on ongoing plans to identify possible targets for ISIS-K, Psaki noted.
sign up on here to receive the daily newsletter of EL PAÍS Brasil: reports, analyses, exclusive interviews and the main information of the day in your e-mail, from Monday to Friday. sign up also to receive our weekly newsletter on Saturdays, with highlights of coverage for the week.