The US retaliated days after the deadly Kabul attack where a drone strike took down an ‘ISIS-K planner’. The US statement read that the country “killed the target” and further added that there were no civilian casualties in the drone strike. The drone strike came after US President Joe Biden gave a speech in which he promised that the US would “hunt down” the culprits behind the deadly attack.
In the ongoing Afghanistan crisis, which has led to hundreds of people dying so far and thousands of people desperate to leave the country, even if it’s at the cost of being a refugee, a new flash point emerged on August 28.
The US launched a drone strike on an ISIS-K planner in Afghanistan. The drone strike comes a day after multiple explosions rocked the Kabul Airport which led to the deaths of several people, including 13 US troops. It should be noted that the US has so far not confirmed or denied whether the strike was in connection to the Airport attack.
The Drone Strike
News agency Reuters confirmed that the US military carried out the drone strike in Afghanistan’s Nanaghar province, approximately 200 kilometers to the country’s capital Kabul. The news agency further reported that the strike was carried out against an ISIS-K militant who was planning future attacks.
Also Read: Kabul Airport Blast: Toll Rises to 103, After Taliban, ISIS-K Emerges as New Threat
Reportedly, the reaper drone (an unmanned vehicle capable of surveillance and attack), struck the ISIS-K militant while he was driving in a car, accompanied by another Islamic State associate.
US Centcom Statement
In its statement, Bill Urban, spokesperson of the US Central Command said, “U.S. military forces conducted an over-the-horizon counterterrorism operation today against an ISIS-K planner. The unmanned airstrike occurred in the Nangarhar Province of Afghanistan. Initial indications are that we killed the target. We know of no civilian casualties.”
Also Read: “Ready to Deal with Terrorism if Spills Out of Afghanistan”: CDS Bipin Rawat on Afghanistan Crisis
Biden’s Promise Fulfilled
The strike comes just days after President Joe Biden promised that the US will “not forget” and “not forgive” the attacks on Kabul, and will “hunt down” the culprits responsible. “To those who carried out this attack, as well as anyone who wishes America harm, know this—we will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay,” the emotional US President said.
US Confirms Threats Still at Kabul Airport
As the US forces continue on its evacuation mission, evacuating more than 1,11,000 people in the past couple of weeks, the Pentagon confirmed that the next few days are going to be the most dangerous one in the mission.
According to John Kirby, the Pentagon spokesperson, there are extremely “specific and credible” threats that are still looming around at the Kabul airport. Speaking to reporters back in the US Capital, Kirby was quoted saying, “We certainly are prepared and would expect future attempts. We’re monitoring these threats, very, very specifically, virtually in real time.”
Also Read: PM Modi Heads the Cabinet Meet on Afghanistan Emergency; Shah, Doval in Attendance
India Adopting “Wait and Watch Policy”
Meanwhile, back home, earlier on Thursday, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar took an all party meeting where he briefed politial leaders from across the parties about the Afghanistan situation. He further said that India – like most of the countries in the world – is following a “wait and watch” policy.
The meeting was attended by leaders of Congress, TMC and more. Congress’ Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, NCP’s Sharad Pawar, TMC’s Sukhendu Shekhar Roy, former Indian PM Deve Gowda were among the 37 political leaders that attended the meeting.
After the meeting, Mr. Jaishankar spoke with the reporters and said, “It is an evolving situation and I request everybody to be patient so that once the situation normalises we can tell you what India’s stand is.”