WASHINGTON: The United States (US) launched a drone strike against a “planner” of the Kabul airport attack in eastern Afghanistan, the military said on Friday.
President Joe Biden vowed on Thursday that the United States would hunt down those responsible for the attack, saying he had ordered the Pentagon to come up with plans to strike at the perpetrators.
US Central Command said the strike took place in Nangarhar province.
“Initial indications are that we killed the target. We know of no civilian casualties,” a US military statement said. It did not say whether the target was connected with the airport attack.
A US official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the strike was against militant planning future attacks.
A reaper drone, which took off from the Middle East, struck the militant while he was in a car with an Islamic State associate, the official said. Both are believed to have been killed, the official added.
There are roughly 5,000 US troops at Kabul’s airport, helping to evacuate American citizens, at-risk Afghans and other nationalities before Biden’s Tuesday deadline.
Thursday’s attack marked the first US military casualties in Afghanistan since February 2020 and represented the deadliest incident for American troops there in a decade.
“We will not forgive, we will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay,” Biden said in remarks at the White House on Thursday.
He appeared to be fighting back tears and his voice cracked with emotion as he talked about the American “heroes” who died. He ordered flags at the White House and public buildings around the country to be lowered to half-staff.