The U.S. military reported Saturday, August 28, 2021 that a drone strike was used to kill a member of the Islamic State group’s Afghanistan affiliate on Saturday. Biden authorized the drone strike, which was ordered by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. Central Command reported the drone strike was conducted in Nangarhar province against an Islamic State member believed to be involved in planning attacks against the United States in Kabul. Initially the drone strike is believed to have killed one individual, according to a release by Navy Capt. William Urban.
The airstrike response to the explosion near Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan was launched from beyond Afghanistan — an over-the-horizon attack — less than 48 hours after the the Kabul attack that killed 13 American service members and a total of over 180 people. The US Marine Corps said 11 of the 13 Americans killed were US Marines, one was a Navy sailor, and one was an Army soldier. Initially, their names were not released pending notification of their families. The deadly explosion occurred Thursday, August 26, 2021 at 5:50 p.m. local time.
U.S. military forces conducted an over-the-horizon counterterrorism operation today against an ISIS-K planner. The unmanned airstrike occurred in the Nangarhar Province of Afghanistan. Initial indications are that we killed the target. We know of no civilian casualties.
– Capt. Bill Urban, USN, U.S. Central Command Spokeman
Indications exist that the Islamic State affiliate planned additional strikes against the U.S.-led evacuation from Kabul airport moved into its final days. Biden has set Tuesday, August 31, 2021 as the deadline for completing the exit, while critics have indicated not all people, including Americans and Afghans who have helped the United States, can be evacuated by Tuesday.
Late Friday, August 27, 2021, the State Department continued urging Americans to stay away from airport gates, including “the New Ministry of Interior gate.”
The Pentagon corrected its initial report that there had been suicide bombings at two locations, discovering there was just one explosion at or near the Abbey Gate in a complex attack that was followed by gunfire. The initial report of a second bombing at the nearby Baron Hotel was false.
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Kabul, Afghanistan is located about 45 miles northwest of Nangarhar province, which also borders Pakistan.