The US is lowering its troop presence at Kabul airport, forward of the deliberate American departure date and following a devastating suicide assault. The Pentagon claims to have killed two “excessive profile” terrorists in response.
The US has began to tug its troops out of Hamid Karzai Worldwide Airport in Kabul, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby mentioned on Saturday. Whereas some 5,800 American troops have been stationed there on the peak of the US’ evacuation mission, that quantity had dwindled on Saturday to under 4,000, Reuters reported. The Pentagon will not present updates on troop numbers.
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The pullout comes because the US’ deliberate withdrawal date of August 31 attracts nearer, but additionally within the aftermath of a devastating suicide bombing that killed 13 American troops, two British nationals and a few 90 Afghans, together with 28 Taliban members.
Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISIS-Ok), a regional offshoot of Islamic State (IS, previously ISIS), claimed duty for the assault. The US launched a drone strike early on Saturday morning in response, concentrating on an alleged “planner” behind the bombing.
The US strike killed an ISIS-Ok “planner,” and one other “facilitator,” in addition to wounding one other member, Kirby advised reporters on Saturday. “The truth that two of those people are not strolling on the face of the Earth, that’s a very good factor,” Kirby added. “It’s a very good factor for the folks of Afghanistan.”
#Afghanistan “They misplaced a planner + they misplaced a facilitator and obtained one wounded. The truth that two of those people are not strolling on the face of the Earth, that’s a very good factor,” Pentagon press sec. John Kirby says of U.S. airstrike on ISIS-Ok pic.twitter.com/rWYoc3M8IG
— Catherine Herridge (@CBS_Herridge) August 28, 2021
Kirby mentioned that the US wouldn’t launch the names of the 2 males killed. He additionally refused to substantiate or deny eyewitness experiences that US troops opened fireplace on Afghan civilians within the chaotic aftermath of the suicide bombing.
ISIS-Ok and the Taliban share a hardline interpretation of Islam, however the teams are bitter adversaries. Nonetheless, because the Taliban retook management of Afghanistan from the Afghan Nationwide Military during the last month, its fighters sprung droves of inmates from jails seized alongside the way in which. Whereas many of those inmates – below American supervision till the latest US pullout – have been Taliban members, others have been ISIS-Ok fighters, now believed to be at massive all through the nation.
“1000’s” of ISIS-Ok prisoners have been let unfastened, Kirby advised reporters on Friday. The Pentagon spokesman blamed the Afghan army for the jailbreaks, saying that “they did have duty for these prisons and the bases at which these prisons have been positioned…and sadly these have been the bases the Afghans did not maintain.”
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Although the Taliban and ISIS-Ok are opposing factions, the Taliban condemned the US drone strike. A spokesman for the militant group advised Reuters that “the Individuals ought to have knowledgeable us earlier than conducting the air strike, it was a transparent assault on Afghan territory.” The Taliban claimed on Friday to have arrested three ISIS-Ok members concerned within the airport assault.
Kirby advised reporters that the US nonetheless plans on finishing its last withdrawal from Afghanistan by August 31. “Nothing has modified in regards to the timeline,” he mentioned.
As of Thursday, some 1,500 Individuals remained unevacuated in Kabul, in accordance with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Additionally talking at Saturday’s press convention, Main Common Hank Taylor mentioned that out of greater than 117,000 evacuees flown out of Kabul for the reason that US evacuation started, “the overwhelming majority” have been Afghan refugees and Particular Immigrant Visa candidates. Roughly 5,400 have been Americans.
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