Afghanistan: Two ‘high-profile’ ISIS-K fighters killed and third wounded in airstrike, Pentagon says

The US killed two “high-profile” ISIS targets and wounded a third in retaliation for Thursday’s suicide bombing at Kabul airport, the Pentagon has said.

Speaking at a news briefing, Major General William “Hank” Taylor confirmed the drone strike, which took place on Thursday, killed an ISIS-K planner and a facilitator.

A Taliban spokesman said the Americans “should have informed us” before conducting the airstrike.

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“It was a clear attack on Afghan territory – two people were killed, two women and a child were wounded in the attack,” the spokesman said.

The Taliban said the airport will be under complete Taliban control “very soon”, adding: “We have enough security and technical staff to operate Kabul airport”.

When questioned about the US airstrike, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said: “They lost a planner and they lost a facilitator and they have got one wounded – the fact that two of these individuals are no longer walking on the face of the Earth, that is a good thing.”

“It is a good thing for the people of Afghanistan and it is a good thing for our troops at that airfield.”

However, he continued: “We aren’t thinking for a minute that what happened yesterday gets us in the clear. Not a minute.

“But do we believe that we hit valid targets, bad guys who can do bad things and can plan bad missions, absolutely.

“And do we think that will have some impact on their ability going forward. What and how much, we are just going to have to keep watching the intelligence going forward.”

The airstrike was a retaliation for a devastating suicide bombing that killed between 79 and 169 Afghans, 13 US military personnel and two Britons.

It is not known if the two people killed were involved in Thursday’s attack.

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 in order to minimise civilian casualties, said Captain Bill Urban, spokesman for US Central Command on Saturday.

The Pentagon confirmed 1,400 individuals are scheduled to be flown out out Kabul today, taking the total numbers evacuated from Afghanistan to 117,000.

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“We are going to complete this mission by the end of the month, nothing has changed about that timeline for us,” said Mr Kirby.

He said the threats are “still very real and very dynamic and we are monitoring them in real-time”.

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