The US has just executed a military airstrike in Kabul meant to target ISIS-K. The strike successfully killed an ISIS-K suicide bomber who the military believed was planning to launch another attack on the airport.
“US military forces conducted a self-defense unmanned over-the-horizon airstrike today on a vehicle in Kabul, eliminating an imminent ISIS-K threat to Hamid Karzai International airport,” said Captain Bill Urban, a spokesman for the U.S. Central Command.
“We are confident we successfully hit the target,” he added.
US defensive airstrike targeting potential suicide bomber leads to civilian deaths
A local civilian told CNN that nine members of his family, six of them children, were killed in the airstrike. Residents of the neighborhood witnessed their deaths, and one recounted the scene to CNN:
“All the neighbors tried to help and brought water to put out the fire and I saw that there were 5 or 6 people dead, the father of the family and another young boy and there were two children. They were dead. They were in pieces. There were (also) two wounded.”
The ISIS-K attacker the US was seeking to target was in a vehicle loaded with explosives. It was unclear whether he planned to detonate the vehicle itself as a weapon or go into the airport with a bomb. Regardless, the individual was stopped by the strike before any attack could take place.
The strike comes after President Joe Biden said on Thursday that “we will respond with force and precision, at our time, at the place we choose and at the moment of our choosing,” against the terrorist organization ISIS-K.
The United States is retaliating against ISIS-K while simultaneously racing to complete its evacuation of US service members, citizens, and allies in Afghanistan after the suicide bombings that killed 13 US service members and 60 Afghans.
Biden also gave a stark statement on the Taliban’s responsibility for securing the area surrounding the Kabul airport:
“We are counting on them to act in their own self-interest, and it’s in their interest that we leave when we said we would. There is no evidence thus far from our commanders in the field that there has been collusion between Taliban and ISIS.”
The Kabul airport attack has left 13 US service members and 60 Afghans dead
Thirteen US service members and at least sixty Afghans were killed and 140 others were injured on Thursday in the attacks outside of the Kabul airport in Afghanistan. Ten of the service members killed were US Marines.
There were also reports of gunfire at several airport gates.
CNN reported initially that two suicide bombers were the source of explosions at the “Abbey” gate and the Baron Hotel.
The Baron Hotel, according to Afghanistan expert Peter Bergen of CNN, has been one of the locations where the British and Americans have been assembling to obtain information on evacuations.
There were at least 140 people wounded in the attacks, with the fatalities occurring among the Afghans who had been pressed against the gates of the airport and the US service members who had been stationed there, screening them.
Tensions had ratcheted up yet again last Wednesday night after US, British and Australian officials warned their citizens to stay away from the airport.
Prior to that time, reports had stated that there were still a total of 1,000 Americans who still need to be evacuated from the country who cannot get to the airport.