The U.S. military announced an airstrike had been conducted against the Islamic State in Afghanistan (IS) in retaliation for terror bombings in and around the Kabul airport in Afghanistan, killing 13 American troops and around 200 Afghan civilians.
The Wall Street Journal reports it was the first known U.S. response to Thursday’s suicide bombing attacks and that an extremist ISIS leader “described as a planner for the organization” was likely killed. “Navy Capt. Bill Urban, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command, which oversees U.S. forces in the Middle East and Afghanistan, said it was an ‘over-the-horizon’ strike, meaning the unmanned aerial vehicle used in the operation flew from a site outside of Afghanistan.”
The Associated Press reported “Biden authorized the drone strike and it was ordered by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, a defense official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to provide details not yet publicly announced. It was not immediately clear whether the targeted IS member was directly involved in Thursday’s airport attack.”
U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said the targeted “planner” whose name and nationality were not released, was hit in Nangarhar province, which borders Pakistan in eastern Afghanistan and was an early IS stronghold.
“A U.S. official said Saturday that the targeted individual appeared to survive an initial drone strike aimed at the vehicle in which he was riding. A second strike killed him, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to provide details not yet publicly released.”
U.S. Central Command said “initial indications” suggest no civilians were killed in the retribution strike, however, “a community elder in Jalalabad said three people were killed and four were wounded in the airstrike at around midnight on Friday, adding he had been summoned by the Taliban investigating the incident” reports The Guardian.
“Women and children are among the victims,’ said Malik Adib, though he did not have information about their identity. There was no confirmation of either claim” the Guardian added. The Guardian also reported the US drone strike’s target was a “mid-level ‘planner’ from the Islamic State’s local affiliate who was travelling in a car with one other person near the eastern city of Jalalabad, US official sources said on Saturday.”