Department of Defense press secretary John Kirby (R) and Army Maj. Gen. William Taylor (L), assistant director of the Joint Staff for Regional Operations, attend a news conference at the Pentagon on August 23, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia.
Alex Wong | Getty Images
WASHINGTON – The Pentagon said Saturday that two high-profile ISIS-K targets were killed in a US drone strike in Afghanistan. The development comes less than two days after a suicide bomber detonated an explosive near the gates of Kabul airport, killing 13 American soldiers.
The Pentagon said the attack targeted two IS-K members believed to have been involved in planning attacks against US forces in Kabul. Army Major William Taylor said Saturday that there were no known civilian casualties following the attack.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the US did not notify or coordinate with the Taliban prior to the attack. He added that the Department of Defense had not notified any other countries in the region or US lawmakers.
The latest reveal comes as Western forces complete a whopping humanitarian evacuation mission set to end in three days.
“We will complete this mission by the end of the month,” said Kirby, adding, “The schedule has not changed for us.”
“We will do this as safely and orderly as possible, and that includes being able to evacuate to the end,” said Kirby.
Read more about developments in Afghanistan:
The Pentagon also confirmed that the US military in Kabul has begun to step backwards or to withdraw from the country. Kirby said fewer than 5,000 soldiers remain in the country, adding that the US would no longer provide the exact number for security reasons.
In the past 24 hours, Western forces evacuated 6,800 people from Kabul on 66 military cargo plane flights. Since the mass evacuations began on August 14, around 111,900 people have been flown out of Afghanistan.
Around 117,500 people have been evacuated since the end of July, including around 5,400 US citizens and their families.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said Friday that about 500 Americans are still seeking evacuation.
Evacuees wait to board a Boeing C-17 Globemaster III during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 23, 2021.
Sgt. Isaiah Campbell | US Marine Corps | via Reuters
President Joe Biden previously said that ISIS-K was a growing threat to the airport, adding that as a result, the United States will be pulling its military out of Afghanistan by the end of the month.
“I have repeatedly said that this mission is extraordinarily dangerous, and that is why I was so determined to limit the duration of this mission,” Biden said at the White House on Thursday.
“We will not be deterred by terrorists. We won’t let them stop our mission. We will continue the evacuation, “said Biden, adding,” America will not be intimidated. “
Biden turned to those responsible for the attack and said, “We will not be forgiven. We will not be forgotten. We will hunt you down and make you pay. ”The president said he had ordered the Pentagon to“ develop operational plans to hit ISIS-K assets, leadership and facilities ”.
“We will respond with force and precision at our time, in the place we choose and at the moment of our choice,” Biden said, indicating that the US had clues about the ISIS-K leaders who ordered the attack.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the president’s national security team warned on Friday that “another terrorist attack is likely” in Kabul. She added that US military commanders on the ground “are taking maximum protective measures” at Kabul Airport.