“U.S. military forces conducted a self-defense unmanned over-the-horizon airstrike today on a vehicle in Kabul, eliminating an imminent ISIS-K threat to [Hamid] Karzai International airport,” Capt. Bill Urban, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command, said.
“We are confident we successfully hit the target,” according to Urban. “Significant secondary explosions from the vehicle indicated the presence of a substantial amount of explosive material.”
“We are assessing the possibilities of civilian casualties, though we have no indications at this time,” he concluded. “We remain vigilant for potential future threats.”
Sunday’s airstrike arrived after President Joe Biden’s Saturday warning of a “highly likely” attack coming “in the next 24-36 hours.”
“The situation on the ground continues to be extremely dangerous, and the threat of terrorist attacks on the airport remains high,” Biden said. “Our commanders informed me that an attack is highly likely in the next 24-36 hours. I directed them to take every possible measure to prioritize force protection, and ensured that they have all the authorities, resources and plans to protect our men and women on the ground. They assured me that they did, and that they could take these measures while completing the mission and safely retrograding our personnel.”
This is the second airstrike the U.S. has carried out against ISIS-K in Afghanistan since Thursday’s suicide bombing, which killed 13 U.S. service members and as many as 170 Afghans.
On Friday, the U.S. conducted a drone strike in the Nangarhar province of Afghanistan that eliminated “a planner and a facilitator” of ISIS-K. One other person from the terrorist group was reportedly injured.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said the names of Friday’s drone strike targets would not be released.
“The fact that two of these individuals are no longer walking on the face of the Earth, that’s a good thing,” Kirby said. “It’s a good thing for the people of Afghanistan, and it’s a good thing for our troops and our forces at that airfield.”
On Saturday, Biden said, “This strike was not the last. We will continue to hunt down any person involved in that heinous attack and make them pay.”