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Afghanistan: United States Drone Attack Kills ISKP Planner

On 27th August 2021, the United States (US) military stated that they had carried out a drone strike against a planner of the Islamic State-Khorasan. It is this group that has claimed responsibility for the twin suicide bombing at the Kabul airport. US Central Command has reported that the airstrike took place in the Nangarhar province, east of Kabul and bordering Pakistan. The strike was launched from outside of Afghanistan. The United States (US) still believes that there are credible threats of attacks against the airport.  According to the US military reports, there have been no indications of causalities. 

On 26th August 2021, two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked the crowds of Afghans at Kabul’s airport. There were two explosions outside the Kabul airport. While one blast happened near the airports’ entrance of Abbey Gate, the second one happened near the Baron hotel.  The crowd at the hotel was immense, including Afghans, Britain’s, and Americans.  78 people including 13 US troops were killed in front of the airport’s Abbey Gate. Some of the media have also reported that the fatalities have gone up to 200.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or the ISIS group have taken responsibility for the attack. The group which is additionally referred to as the Islamic State in Khorasan province opposed the Western nations as well as the Taliban. This group is well known in Syria and Iraq who have targeted the Shia Muslim minority in a series of brutal attacks. It is this group that is seeking to establish a new caliphate in Iraq and Syria. The armed group was formed in 2014. Khorasan is a historical region that once included countries like Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, and Turkmenistan.

The present situation has forced the US troops to work closely with the Taliban as there are still major threats like this attack to happen again. The US has advised its citizens not to be at the airport and maintain a distance as well. The US has been overlooking the airport as the airlift of those desperate to flee has been moved into the final stages. As per the reports from Pentagon, 111,000 people have been taken out of Afghanistan in the past two weeks. But the increased warning of fresh attacks and encroaching of the Taliban forces is making the situation difficult. 

Meanwhile, a senior Taliban Commander has reported that few ISKP members have been arrested in connection to the Kabul attack and are being interrogated by the intelligence team. Following the airstrike, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby has reportedly said that “We certainly are prepared and would expect future attempts,” Kirby told reporters in Washington. “We’re monitoring these threats, very, very specifically, and virtually in real-time.”