US Airstrike Killed 2 ‘High-Profile’ ISIS-K Members in Afghanistan: Pentagon

By Lorenz Duchamps
Lorenz Duchamps
Lorenz Duchamps
August 28, 2021 Updated: October 27, 2021

Update: The drone strike had killed innocent civilians, not members of the ISIS-K terrorist group as initially announced by the Pentagon. The strike killed at least 10 people, including seven children. A congressional testimony by three top officials from the U.S. military came a month later, relaying further details.

Original story below.

The Pentagon confirmed on Saturday that two “high-profile” ISIS-K terrorist group members were killed in Afghanistan during a U.S.-led counter-terrorism drone attack.

“Yesterday, U.S. military forces conducted an over-the-horizon counterterrorism operation against an ISIS-K planner and facilitator,” Major General William Taylor said at an Aug. 28 news conference. “I can confirm now that two high-profile ISIS targets were killed, and one was wounded, and we know of zero civilian casualties,” he added.

The latest development is an update after an initial statement by the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) reported only one death in the drone strike.

Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said during the same briefing that it was “a single mission” and after additional intelligence was obtained over time, the U.S. can now confirm a second ISIS terrorist was killed and one more was wounded during Friday’s attack.

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Pentagon spokesman John Kirby (R), and Army Maj. Gen. William “Hank” Taylor listen to questions during a briefing at the Pentagon in Washington on Aug. 28, 2021. (Susan Walsh/AP Photo)

“They lost a planner and they lost a facilitator and they’ve got one wounded. And the fact that two of these individuals are no longer walking on the face of the earth, that’s a good thing,” Kirby said.

“It’s a good thing for the people of Afghanistan. It’s a good thing for our troops and our forces at that airfield. And I think I’m just going to leave it at that,” he continued.

Kirby declined to identify those killed but said the United States knew who they were. It is not immediately clear whether the targeted ISIS members were directly involved in the Aug. 26 Kabul airport attack that killed 13 U.S. service members. Most of the U.S. service members killed in the terrorist attack have been identified in various reports.

The Pentagon also said on Saturday that about 6,800 people were airlifted from Kabul on U.S. and coalition aircraft in the past 24 hours, and about 117,000 people have been airlifted over the last two weeks.

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Taliban terrorists in a vehicle patrol a street in Kabul on Aug. 27, 2021. (Aamir Qureshi/AFP via Getty Images)

Founded in 2015, ISIS-K is a sworn enemy of the Taliban and the United States. Until the airport attack, ISIS-K had been quiet since Kabul was taken over by the Taliban on Aug. 15.

Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., the CENTCOM commander, said on Aug. 26 shortly after the attack that he expected further ISIS-K attacks targeting the airport, which may include rockets or car bombs.

Isabel van Brugen contributed to this report.

From NTD News