US retaliates against ISIL with drone strike in Afghanistan

TEHRAN, Aug. 28 (MNA) – US military forces conducted a drone strike on Friday against the ISIL terrorist group in Afghanistan in an apparent retaliatory attack against those who claimed responsibility for the attack outside Kabul's airport.

"US military forces conducted an over-the-horizon counterterrorism operation today against an ISIS planner," said Capt. Bill Urban, spokesman for US Central Command, in a statement, NBC News reported.

"The unmanned airstrike occurred in the Nangarhar Province of Afghanistan. Initial indications are that we killed the target. We know of no civilian casualties."

ISIL claimed responsibility for the attack on Thursday that involved a suicide bomber who detonated an explosive belt at the airport's gate, killing 13 US service members and more than 110 Afghans. More than 100 were wounded in the blasts.

US President Joe Biden vowed in a Thursday speech that the US would respond to the attacks "with force."

Two US defense officials familiar with the strike told NBC News that the target of the drone strike was an ISIL fighter thought to be involved in planning for future attacks. The strike was in Nangarhar Province in eastern Afghanistan, where ISIL had a large presence several years ago before being largely ousted by the Afghan military and the Taliban.

The unnamed ISIL planner was riding in a vehicle with one associate at the time of the strike, was driving in an isolated area. The defense officials said the strike was carried out by an MQ-9 Reaper drone and munitions that were selected for precision and in order to minimize any civilian casualties.

ZZ/PR

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