Pentagon: Two ‘High Profile’ ISIS-K Targets Killed in Retaliatory Drone Strike

A U.S. Predator unmanned drone armed with a missile stands on the tarmac of Kandahar military airport, June 2010. (Masood Hossaini/Pool via Reuters)

The Pentagon on Saturday confirmed that two “high-profile” Islamic State leaders in Afghanistan were killed in a retaliatory drone strike carried out by U.S. military forces less than 48 hours after a suicide bombing by the group at the Kabul airport killed at least 169 Afghans and 13 American service members.

Major General Hank Taylor, deputy director of the Joint Staff for Regional Operations, confirmed during a briefing on Saturday that the two targets were killed and one was wounded.

“We know of zero civilian casualties,” Taylor said. “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,” 

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said Saturday that all of the targets, who were “ISIS-K planners and facilitators,” were hit in a single strike in the Nangahar Province of Afghanistan.

“The fact that two of these individuals are no longer walking on the face of the earth. That’s a good thing,” Kirby said.

The airstrike came one day after President Biden threatened the perpetrators of the deadly airport attack saying, “We will hunt you down and make you pay.”

Taylor said during the press conference that the names of the 13 service members who were killed in the suicide bombing will be announced shortly.

“I want to share that the Department of Defense will shortly announce the names of the 13 service members who were killed in service to their country. We grieve with the Gold Star families, friends and loved ones of our fallen,” he said.

Kirby said that the remains of the fallen service members are en route to the U.S.

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