Bombing killed scores of people trying to flee Afghanistan as Taliban took over in August 2021
The Taliban have killed an Islamic State militant who was the "mastermind" behind a suicide attack at Kabul's international airport in 2021 that killed 13 U.S. troops and scores of civilians during the United States' chaotic evacuation from the country, a U.S. official said on Tuesday.
The bombing occurred on Aug. 26, 2021, as U.S. troops were trying to help Americans and Afghans flee in the chaotic aftermath of the Taliban's takeover, and compounded America's sense of defeat after 20 years of war.
"He was a key ISIS-K official directly involved in plotting operations like Abbey Gate, and now is no longer able to plot or conduct attacks," White House spokesperson John Kirby said in a statement, referring to the Abbey Gate entrance to the Kabul airport where the blast occurred. He did not name the official.
The Afghan affiliate of Islamic State, known as Islamic State Khorasan or ISIS-K, after an old name of the region, is an enemy of the Taliban. Fighters loyal to Islamic State first appeared in eastern Afghanistan in 2014 and later made inroads in other areas.
The blast at Abbey Gate came hours after Western officials warned of a major attack, urging people to leave the airport. But that advice went largely unheeded by Afghans desperate to escape the country in the last few days of an American-led evacuation before the U.S. officially ended its 20-year presence.
The U.S. decision to withdraw all of its troops fuelled the swift collapse of the Afghan government and military, which the U.S. had supported for nearly two decades, and the return to power of the Taliban. In the aftermath, U.S. President Joe Biden directed that a broad review examine "every aspect of this from top to bottom," and it was released earlier this month.
The Biden administration, in the publicly released version of the review, largely laid blame on former U.S. president Donald Trump for the deadly and chaotic 2021 withdrawal, which was punctuated by the suicide bombing at the airport.
News of the killing came on the same day that Biden formally announced he will seek a second term as U.S. president, offering a reminder of one of the most difficult chapters of his presidency.
The disastrous drawdown was, at the time, the biggest crisis that the relatively new administration had faced. It left sharp questions about Biden and his team's competence and experience — the twin pillars central to his campaign for the White House.
With files from The Associated Press
Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca