The U.S. launched a drone strike against the Islamic State in Afghanistan early Saturday, two days after President Joe Biden first vowed revenge for a suicide bombing that killed 13 American troops and as the deadline for complete evacuation loomed.
In a Saturday statement, Biden said the drone strike “was not the last.”
“I said we would go after the group responsible for the attack on our troops and innocent civilians in Kabul, and we have,” Biden wrote. “We will continue to hunt down any person involved in that heinous attack and make them pay.”
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said Saturday morning that the strike killed two “high-profile” members of Islamic State in Khorasan Province, or ISIS-K, an Afghan offshoot of Islamic State. A third person was wounded.
The strike in the Nangarhar region killed one ISIS-K planner and one facilitator, but Kirby would not provide further details or confirm what role, if any, they played in the suicide bombing at Kabul airport on Thursday that killed at least 170 people.
“The fact that two of these individuals are no longer walking on the face of the earth, that’s is a good thing,” he said.
Navy Capt. William Urban, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command, earlier said there were no known civilian casualties.
The White House had warned that ISIS-K, a rival of the Taliban, was likely to strike again in the final days of the U.S. withdrawal. And Biden had promised the terrorists behind Thursday’s horror could expect retribution.
“We will hunt you down and make you pay,” Biden said.
Several family members of the Americans who were killed have slammed the Biden administration for its handling of the withdrawal agreed to by President Donald Trump.
“I’ve lost my son, but there are still Marines over there,” Jim McCollum, whose son Rylee, 20, was among the dead, told The Daily Beast. “We gave them everything they need, and we are pinned down at the airport. I am scared shitless to see what’s going to happen next, and what’s going to come our way.”