The United States military has conducted a drone strike against an Islamic State member in Afghanistan’s Nangahar Province, which borders Pakistan in retaliation to the Kabul bombing in which 13 U.S. troops died.
Captain Bill Urban, the spokesman for US Central Command, said he U.S. airstrike killed an Islamic State “planner” in retaliation for Thursday’s suicide bombing in Kabul.
There were no known civilian casualties, he said.
It is not clear whether the planner killed by the US had been involved in Thursday’s attack near the city’s airport, where thousands of people had been trying to reach evacuation flights to escape the incoming Taliban regime.
But two defence officials told NBC News that the target was an ISIS-K fighter thought to be planning future attacks.
They said the unnamed fighter had been riding in a vehicle with an associate at the time of the strike, which was carried out by an MQ-9 Reaper drone using munitions chosen for precision and to minimise civilian casualties.
Friday’s airstrike goes some way to fulfilling a promise made by US President Joe Biden to retaliate against those behind the airport attack.
In a message to the perpetrators on Thursday evening, he had said: “We will hunt you down and make you pay.”
Over 2 400 US service members died in the 20-year war in Afghanistan but the attack outside Kabul’s airport was the deadliest day since 2011.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the final few days would be “our most dangerous period to date”, as the US State Department issued a warning telling American citizens still in Kabul to stay away from the airport gates for their own safety.