U.S. drone strike reportedly eliminates ISIS-K suicide bombers on way to Kabul airport

A U.S. military drone struck a vehicle containing “multiple suicide bombers” in Kabul Sunday on their way to attack targets around the Hamid Karzai International Airport, according to multiple reports Sunday.

U.S. officials told Reuters on condition of anonymity that the terrorist suspects in the vehicle were with ISIS-K, the group that claimed responsibility for the deadly attack Thursday that left 13 U.S. military personnel dead including 169 Afghan civilians.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail said that a senior police official in Kabul told Agence France Presse that a child was killed when a rocket struck a home in the Khajeh Baghra area northwest of the airport in what is believed to be an unrelated incident. Two other witnesses said the blast appeared to be the result of a rocket attack.

“We are confident we hit the target we were aiming for. Initial reports indicate there were no civilian casualties,” a U.S. official told CBS News, according to the Daily Mail, adding that after the drone strike “significant secondary explosions” were seen and heard, which is an indication that there were explosive materials in the vehicle.

Investigative journalist Sara Carter shared online what she identified as video footage of the drone strike:

The drone strike marks the second attack from the U.S. since Thursday’s bombings, after which President Joe Biden accepted responsibility and vowed there would be retaliation for it.

“We will not be deterred by terrorists. We will not let them stop our mission. We will continue the evacuation,” he said later Thursday, several hours after the attack.

“To those who carried out this attack, 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… We will respond with force and precision at our time and the place we choose and the moment of our choosing,” he added.

“With regard to finding and tracking down the ISIS leaders who ordered this, we have some reason to believe we know who they are — not certain. And we will find ways of our choosing without large military operations to get them,” Biden went on to say, in response to a reporter’s question about how the administration would find the responsible parties.

On Saturday, Biden added, “The 13 service members that we lost were heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice in service of our highest American ideals and while saving the lives of others.

“Their bravery and selflessness has enabled more than 117,000 people at risk to reach safety thus far. May God protect our troops and all those standing watch in these dangerous days,” he continued.

At least 300 Americans reportedly remain trapped in Afghanistan, and it’s not clear they’re going to be evacuated before Tuesday’s withdrawal deadline imposed by the Taliban and agreed to by the U.S. president.

To that point, Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) took to Twitter Friday to claim that Biden’s team on the ground in Kabul was not allowing Americans through checkpoints into the airport.

“America, you need to know this: Biden is not letting US citizens through the airport gates. It has been impossible to get anyone through for the last 24 hours. This administration has been lying about their intent to save Americans. Unforgivable,” he said.

Jon Dougherty

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