The Pentagon has killed two “famous” Islamic State militants in a Friday night drone strike in Nangarhar as part of U.S. retaliation for a terrorist bombing at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. One said he was injured. Includes 13 Americans.
Pentagon officials said one of the targets of Islamic State’s drones was the “planner” and the other was the “facilitator.” Officials did not say whether they were particularly involved in the attack on Kabul Airport, but they said they were both involved in planning an attack on Americans.
At Kabul Airport, threats to US troops and civilians remain, threatening ongoing evacuation efforts, officials said.
On Friday, US troops helped evacuate 4,000 people from the airport with US military aircraft and another 2,800 people with other aircraft. Maj. Gen. Hank Taylor, deputy director of regional operations co-staff, said 117,000 (mostly Afghan) had been evacuated since Kabul fell to the Taliban on August 15.
For the first time, Pentagon officials have publicly acknowledged that some of the people killed in the aftermath of the suicide bombing at Kabul Airport may have been killed in shootings from American military personnel after the suicide bomber exploded.
Pentagon officials had previously stated that there was a shooting after the bombing, but it was unclear where it came from. Investigators are investigating whether Shot came from an American at the gate or from an Islamic State that claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing.
“We can’t confirm that,” Pentagon spokesman John F. Kirby said at a press conference on Saturday. But he added that the Pentagon was “not in a position to deny it.”
Pentagon officials did not reveal the names of Islamic State planners and facilitators who were killed in a drone strike in Nangahar near the Pakistani border.
“They are ISIS-K planners and facilitators, and that’s good reason,” Kirby said, referring to Islamic State Korasan.
Three days before President Biden’s August 31 withdrawal deadline, US troops at Kabul Airport launched what the military called “retrograde.” This means that military personnel will board the plane and depart.
Military officials said there were about 4,000 US troops on the ground in Kabul, from a peak of 5,800. Kirby said American citizens and Afghan allies were still allowed entry into airports and departure planes.