Taliban forces killed the Islamic State Mastermind of suicide bomb attack at the Kabul airport during the chaotic withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan in 2021, the White House said Tuesday.
The bomber detonated a device among packed crowds at the Kabul airport’s perimeter as they tried to flee Afghanistan on 26th August 2021. The blast killed some 170 Afghans and 13 US troops who were securing the airport for the traumatic exit.
The blast killed about 170 Afghans and 13 US troops who were securing the airport for the traumatic exit.
It was one of the deadliest bombings in Afghanistan and prompted a wave of criticism of President Joe Biden for his decision to pull American forces out of the country nearly 20 years after the US invasion.
White House national security spokesman John Kirby said in a statement that, The leader of the militant group that planned the attack has since been killed by Taliban authorities.
“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,” Kirby said, referring to the spot outside the airport where the attack took place.
ISIS-K refers to the Islamic State Khorasan, the branch of the group operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“He was killed in a Taliban operation,” Kirby added without giving any details of it.
The pullout, ending on 30th August 2021, saw Taliban fighters sweep aside Western-trained Afghan forces in just weeks, forcing the last US troops to mount the desperate evacuation from Kabul’s airport.
An unprecedented military airlift operation managed to get more than 120,000 people out of the country in a matter of days.
Joe Biden has long defended his decision to leave Afghanistan, which critics have said helped cause the catastrophic collapse of Afghan forces and paved the way for the Taliban to return to power two decades after their first government was toppled.
Nothing “would have changed the trajectory” of the exit and “ultimately, President Biden refused to send another generation of Americans to fight a war that should have ended for the United States long ago,” the White House National Security Council said in a report to Congress earlier this month.
Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers insist they have full control of security in the country, have largely eliminated any IS threat, and that there is no Al-Qaeda presence.
They have still not acknowledged the assassination of then Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in June last year by a US drone strike in Kabul.