An MQ-9 Reaper drone flies over the Nevada test and training range, United States

US bombs ISIS-K with drones in retaliation for heinous bombing at Kabul airport

“The unmanned aerial attack took place in the Afghan province of Nangahar. The first signs are that we have killed the target, ”said Captain Bill Urban of the United States Central Command.

The army of the United States said on Friday it carried out a drone strike against a “strategist” of the Islamic-Khorasan State (ISIS-K) , the group that the suicide bombing death was attributed at the airport in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan .

“ The unmanned aerial attack took place in the Afghan province of Nangahar . The first signs point to the fact that we have killed the target, ”Captain Bill Urban, of the Central Command , said in a statement, indicating that he had no record of“ any civilian casualties ”.

After the attack claimed by the Islamic State of the Khorasan (ISIS-K) , the branch of this group in Pakistan and Afghanistan, President Joe Biden had promised retaliation.

“We will hunt them down and make them pay,” he said in a speech after the deadliest coup against the US military in Afghanistan since 2011.

The risk of attacks persists, according to Washington. “We still believe there are specific and credible threats ,” John Kirby, a spokesman for the US Department of Defense, warned on Friday.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki indicated that another attack was “likely” and that the next few days will be “the most dangerous period to date.”

Airport control

On Friday night, as on the eve of the attack, the US embassy in Kabul urged its citizens to “immediately” leave the vicinity of the airfield.

“Due to threats to the security of the Kabul airport, we continue to advise American citizens to avoid going to the airport and avoid the airport gates, ” the embassy said.

A dialectical exchange between the Taliban and the United States accentuated the tension a few days before the August 31 deadline scheduled to complete the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan after 20 years of war, which will also mark the end of the evacuations.

The Taliban , through their spokesman Bilal Karimi, claimed to be in control of “three important sites in the military part of the airport” in Kabul.

Shortly after, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby denied that the Taliban were “in charge of any of the gates” or “any of the airport operations.”

However, Friday was relatively calm in Kabul, especially around the airport, where repatriation flights chartered by Western powers resumed their activity from early in the morning, although at a slower pace than in previous days.

Evacuations “until the last moment”

In the airport compound there are still about 5,400 people waiting to get on a plane, said US General Hank Taylor, specifying that the evacuations will continue “until the last moment.”

More than 109,000 people have been evacuated since Aug. 14, the day before the Taliban entered Kabul, according to the latest US government figures.

NATO and the European Union asked to continue with the evacuations despite the attack, but many countries have already concluded their links with the Afghan capital.

One of the last was France, which, however, pointed to talks with the Taliban to be able to continue removing people from the country after August 31.

Switzerland, Italy, Spain or Sweden also reported the end of their missions on Friday and, in previous days, Germany, the Netherlands, Canada or Australia had done so.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his evacuation operations were also facing “their last hours”, but vowed to move “heaven and earth” to “help out” Afghans eligible for asylum.

“Innate right” to work

On their return to power, the Taliban try to create an image of openness and restraint. But many Afghans, often urban and educated, fear a repeat of the brutal and fundamentalist regime they imposed between 1996 and 2001.

Local workers from foreign delegations or from the overthrown government fear being silenced or retaliated and make up the bulk of candidates for exile.

There is a special fear for the situation of women, who under the previous regime could not work or study.

In an attempt to allay these fears, a Taliban representative claimed that women have an “innate right” to work.

“They can work, they can study, they can participate in politics and they can do business,” said Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, who was a negotiator for the Islamists in the failed Doha peace talks.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres summoned the permanent members of the Security Council for a meeting on Monday on Afghanistan.

The situation in this country will also focus much of the attention of a regional summit organized by Iraq, with the presence of the heads of diplomacy of Iran and Saudi Arabia, the Egyptian presidents Abdel Fatah al Sisi and French Emmanuel Macron, and the king of Jordan Abdullah II.

Ben Oakley
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