An airstike by the United States on Saturday targeted an Islamic State "planner" in Afghanistan in an apparent retaliation against the group less than 48 hours after the suicide bombing at Kabul airport that claimed the lives of 169 Afghans and 13 American troops.
In a statement, the US Central Command said the drone strike in Nangahar targeted an ISIS-K member believed to be involved in planning attacks against the US in Kabul, according to the Associated Press. One person was killed in the strike, with spokesperson Navy Capt. William Urban saying they were not aware of any civilian casualties.
"US military forces conducted an over-the-horizon counterterrorism operation today against an ISIS-K planner. The unmanned airstrike occurred in the Nangahar Province of Afghanistan. Initial indications are that we killed the target. We know of no civilian casualtie," the statement read.
It is not yet clear if the person killed was involved in the planning of the suicide bombing at Kabul airport on Thursday, which took place as crowds were desperately trying to get evacuated from the country in the wake of the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan.
The strike comes after US President Joe Biden had vowed to "hunt down" the those responsible for the Kabul airport attack on Thursday.
"To those who carried out this attack, as well as anyone who wishes America harm notice, we will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay. I will defend our interests and our people with every measure at my command," Biden said in his address fromt the White House.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki had told reporters that Biden does not want the terrorists to live any longer. "I think he made it clear yesterday that he does not want them to live on the Earth anymore," she said at her daily press briefing.
Pentagon officials on Friday told reporters they were prepared to undertake any retaliatory action the President ordered, with Maj. Gen. Hank Taylor of the Pentagon’s Joint Staff saying "we have options there right now".
Meanwhile, the US Embassy in Kabul again warned its citizens to stay away from capital's aiport, telling a number of citizens at the gates to "leave immidiately" citing security threats.