U.S. Conducts Airstrike On ISIS-K Planner In Afghanistan After Kabul Attack, Pentagon Says

According to the U.S. military, it launched an airstrike on Friday against Islamic State-Khorasan (also known as ISIS-K and IS-K), likely in retaliation against the Afghan-based terrorist group. The strike came after the Taliban bombed Kabul's airport Thursday, killing 13 American soldiers and more than 100 civilians trying to flee the country.

Afghans fleeing Afghanistan rush to Kabul's Airport on August 18, 2021. Getty Images via Anadolu Agency

The Key Facts

Capt. Urban, a planner for IS-K, was targeted in Afghanistan's northeastern Nangarhar Province. This area IS-K used once as a stronghold. In a statement, Bill Urban from U.S. Central Command stated that the strike targeted a planner for IS-K located in Afghanistan's northeastern Nangarhar Province. Urban claims the strike, which he described as an unmanned, over-the-horizon counterterrorism operations, killed its target. Urban said that no civilian casualties were known.

Important Background

A suicide bomber attacked Kabul's Hamid Karzai International Airport on Thursday, killing 13 U.S. personnel. Multiple news outlets claim that more than 160 civilians were also killed. The Pentagon claimed that the attack was carried out by Islamic State. This group, which is an Afghan affiliate known as IS-K, treats both the United States as enemies and took credit for the fatal attack. Thursday's President Joe Biden pledged to retaliate: We will not forget. We won't forget. He said that we will pursue you and make you pay.

What to Watch

More strikes. On Tuesday, the United States will withdraw its last troops from Afghanistan. This ends its 20-year-long military presence there. Officials from the Biden administration said that they would continue to be able to carry out over-the-horizon attacks against terrorist groups in Afghanistan despite the withdrawal. They likely relied on another U.S. military base.


For years, the United States has attacked IS-K targets with the assistance of the Afghan government that was once U.S.-backed or as part of tacit cooperation with Taliban.


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