28 Aug 2021: US carries out drone strike on ISIS-K after Kabul blasts
The United States military said on Friday it has carried out a drone strike against a "planner" of the Islamic State-Khorasan (ISIS-K), the group which has claimed responsibility for the deadly bombings in Afghan capital Kabul. More than 100 people, including at least 13 US service members, have been killed in the blasts, that rattled Afghanistan on Thursday.
Quote: 'Indications are that we killed the target'
"The unmanned airstrike occurred in the Nangarhar Province of Afghanistan. Initial indications are that we killed the target," said Captain Bill Urban of the Central Command, according to news agency AFP. "We know of no civilian casualties," he added in the statement on Friday. The attack was launched from outside of Afghanistan, the same agency reported.
Fact: How was the attack executed?
A reaper drone took off from an unnamed base in the Middle East and hit the target when he was in a car along with another associate. Both are believed to have been killed, according to an official cited by Reuters news agency.
Context: 170 killed in attack outside Kabul airport
As many as 170 people, including US soldiers and foreign nationals, were killed in blasts outside the Kabul airport on Thursday. Notably, a massive evacuation of Afghans and foreigners has been underway at that airport since the Taliban took over Afghanistan earlier this month. ISIS-K, an affiliate of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS or ISIL), claimed credit for the attack.
Biden: 'We will hunt you down,' said US President Biden
Soon after Thursday's attack, US President Joe Biden had vowed retaliation. "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," he had said. US officials have warned of more attacks by the ISIS-K in the coming days.
Fact: More attacks are likely, say US officials
US Defense Department spokesperson John Kirby said on Friday that the US believes there are still "specific, credible" threats of attacks against the Kabul airport. Meanwhile, evacuations have resumed at the airport, reports say.
Background: Taliban took control of Afghanistan earlier this month
The Taliban, who had brutally ruled Afghanistan in the late 1990s, regained control of the country earlier this month, bringing an end to the 20-year-long war. After the takeover, countries began evacuating their troops and citizens, even as thousands of Afghans swarmed the Kabul airport making desperate attempts to flee the Taliban rule. However, the insurgents are yet to form a government.
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Also see: Who are ISIS-K, the group behind the Kabul blasts?
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