The United States on Friday launched a drone strike against a ‘planner’ of Islamic State attack, a day after a suicide bombing at Kabul airport killed 13 US troops and scores of Afghan civilians. The US military in a statement announced that “We know of no civilian casualties.”
The United States Central Command said the strike took place in Nangarhar province, east of Kabul and bordering Pakistan. “Initial indications are that we killed the target,” the statement reads.
Two blasts and gunfire rocked the area outside the airport on Thursday evening, witnesses said.
A US official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the drone strike was against an Islamic State militant planning attacks.
A reaper drone, which took off from the Middle East, struck the militant who was in a car with an Isis associate. Both are believed to have been killed, the official said.
In Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar, community elder Malik Adib 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.
“Women and children are among the victims,” said Adib, though he did not have information about their identity.
United States embassy warns Americans to avoid Kabul’s airport
The US embassy in Kabul warned Americans to avoid Kabul’s airport because of security threats and those at its gates should leave immediately.
The United States and allied forces have been racing to complete evacuations of their citizens and vulnerable Afghans and to withdraw from Afghanistan by the Tuesday deadline set by President Joe Biden after two decades of American military presence there.
United States to transfer Kabul airport to Afghan people
The United States has announced that it will transfer Kabul airport back to the Afghan people on 1 September.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price on Friday said, “Upon our departure, we will transfer the Kabul airport back to the Afghan people.”
Earlier, the Taliban spokesperson said that the group has controlled parts of Kabul airport, as an August 31 deadline for the United States is about to end.
ISIS-K members arrested: Taliban
A senior Taliban commander said some ISIS-K members had been arrested in connection with the Kabul attack. “They are being interrogated by our intelligence team,” the commander said.
The number of Afghans killed in the attack rose to 79
Afghans would be able to travel freely in future
The Taliban have said Afghans with valid documents would be able to travel freely in future ― comments aimed at calming fears that they planned harsh restrictions.
We will hunt you down and make you pay: Biden
The airstrike came a day after President Biden vowed to “hunt” down the terrorists and make them “pay” for the Kabul airport attack and ordered his commanders to develop plans to strike back at them.
“To those who carried out this attack, as well as anyone who wishes America harm notice, we will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay. I will defend our interests and our people with every measure at my command,” Biden had said in his remarks at the White House on Thursday.
Haqqani to be responsible for Kabul security
A Pakistani protege, Khalil Haqqani, who has a $5 million bounty after the US designated him a terrorist, has been pictured in the Afghan capital, Kabul, ahead of talks on forming a new government, reported Clearance Jobs, a career network for professionals with federal government security clearance.
Moreover, Abdullah Abdullah, a former-Republic leader and negotiator for the upcoming government, too confirmed that Haqqani would be responsible for Kabul security.
Harsh Vardhan Shringla to visit US next week; Afghanistan likely to be on agenda
The security situation in Afghanistan is expected to be high on the agenda of talks between India and the US as Indian foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla travels to the US next week.
The visit was announced by the Indian foreign ministry on Friday, a day after more than 100 people including at least 13 US service members were killed in twin blasts at the Kabul airport. The Islamic State-Korasan group is suspected to be behind the attack.
With inputs from agencies