The U.S. military conducted an airstrike against an ISIS-K vehicle near the airport in Kabul on Sunday, U.S. defense officials said.
Central Command Spokesperson, Captain Bill Urban said in a statement, “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 Hamad Karzai International airport.”
“We are confident we successfully hit the target. Significant secondary explosions from the vehicle indicated the presence of a substantial amount of explosive material,” the statement reads. “We are assessing the possibilities of civilian casualties, though we have no indications at this time. We remain vigilant for potential future threats.”
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a message to journalists that the strike targeted a suicide bomber as he drove a vehicle filled with explosives. Mujahid would not provide further details.
The attack occurred as families of the 13 U.S. troops killed in the suicide attack near the Kabul airport on Thursday were receiving their fallen sons and daughters at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.
President Biden, Chairman of Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin arrived at Dover to meet with the families ahead of the dignified transfer.
“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,” Biden said in a statement Saturday. “Their bravery and selflessness has enabled more than 117,000 people at risk to reach safety thus far.”
The U.S. is relying on the Taliban, a group that’s spent years working to kill Americans, to keep out terrorists with the same goal from entering the airport’s perimeter.
IS-K is the regional affiliate of ISIS in Afghanistan and Pakistan and while not as organized as the Taliban, it’s much more extreme in its beliefs and even more violent.
U.S. military planes will continue their evacuation efforts Sunday ahead of the Tuesday deadline set by Biden.