President Joe Biden actually appears to have followed through on his threat to retaliate against the Islamic State group affiliate responsible for the suicide bombings that were conducted in Afghanistan on Thursday, which claimed the lives of 13 U.S. service members and over 100 Afghan allies.
Fox News reports that the Biden administration took out two “high-profile” ISIS-Khorasan operatives on Friday with a targeted drone strike.
What we know
U.S. Central Command spokesman Capt. Bill Urban was one of the Pentagon officials who confirmed that the U.S.-led drone strikes took place on Friday.
Urban said that “U.S. military forces conducted an over-the-horizon counterterrorism operation [on Friday] against an ISIS-K planner.”
The strike, according to Urban, took place in the Nangahar Province of Afghanistan. He added that “initial indications are that we killed the target” and that “we know of no civilian casualties.”
A U.S. official further revealed that the targets were believed to be involved in the planning of “carrying out future attacks.”
What’s still unknown is whether the ISIS-K operatives who were killed on Friday had any direct involvement in Thursday’s suicide bombings that claimed the lives of multiple U.S. troops.
“We will not forgive”
The drone strike comes in the wake of a suicide bombing that occurred at the Kabul Airport on Thursday. According to the latest figures, the bombing attack, which was carried out by ISIS-K terrorists, has claimed the lives of over 175 people, including 13 members of the U.S. military.
President Biden initially responded to the news of the tragic bombing with a speech in which he threatened retaliation. “We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay,” he stated.
While some are praising Biden for following through on his threat, others are arguing that it was “too little, too late.” That’s what Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) told Fox News on Friday.
“The fact of the matter is, this operation has been bungled,” Harris said. “[The drone strike] won’t retrieve that bungling. Look, we’ve still got a lot of Americans on the ground, a lot of our allies on the ground. I don’t see any way we can be out by August 31. And I think the president has to extend that deadline, given what’s happened over the last few days.”
Whether or not Biden will extend the deadline remains unclear — he is clearly trying not to, as the Taliban threatened repercussions in that event. Evacuations have resumed following the suicide bombings, despite reports that more bombings are likely. There are still hundreds of Americans trapped behind enemy lines.