The Pentagon confirmed Saturday that the Friday evening U.S. airstrike launched against ISIS-K killed two “high profile” ISIS targets and left one wounded.
“Yesterday, the U.S. military forces conducted an over the horizon counterterrorism operation against an ISIS-K planner and facilitator. The airstrike occurred in the Nangarhar province of Afghanistan. I can confirm, as more information has come in, that two high profile ISIS targets were killed and one was wounded. And we know of zero civilian casualties,” Army Maj. General William “Hank” Taylor announced.
ISIS-K claimed responsibility Thursday for the two suicide bomb explosions at the Hamid Karzai International Airport’s Abbey Gate in Kabul early Thursday that killed thirteen U.S. service members and wounded at least eighteen others. Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said Friday that the Taliban had released thousands of ISIS-K prisoners after taking over the country, which led hundreds to surround the airport where they are expected to conduct more attacks. (RELATED: US Launches Air Strike Against ‘ISIS-K’ Planner In Afghanistan After Deadly Terror Attack)
“Without specifying any future plans, I will say that we will continue to have the ability to defend ourselves and to leverage over the horizon capability to conduct counterterrorism operations as needed. We continue to evacuate American citizens and vulnerable Afghans out of Kabul,” Taylor continued. “In fact, there are approximately 1,400 individuals at the Kabul airport who have been screened and manifested for flights today.”
“This is a massive military, diplomatic, security and humanitarian undertaking for the United States and our allies.”
When a reporter questioned whether the members were directly involved in the Kabul airport attacks, Kirby said the fact that these individuals were ISIS facilitators was enough reason for them to be targets.
“They were ISIS-K planners and facilitators and that’s enough reason alone,” Kirby said. “I won’t speak to the details of these individuals or what their specific roles might be. As the General said, we have the ability and the means to carry out over- the-horizon counterterrorism capabilities and we’re going to defend ourselves.”
President Joe Biden vowed revenge against the facilitators of the attack in a Thursday press briefing, saying that the U.S. will “hunt you down.”
“To those who carried out the attacks 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.”
Taylor also announced that 32 U.S. military aircraft — 27 C-17s and 5 C1-30’s — left Afghanistan with nearly 4,000 personnel and 66 flights left Kabul with 6,800 evacuees. In total, more than 117,000 people have evacuated Kabul, with 5,400 being American citizens. Six flights are reportedly expected to carry 2,000 Afghan refugees to the U.S.