KABUL: The Pentagon has announced it carried out a drone strike on the ISIS 'planner' behind Thursday's suicide bombing which killed at least 170 people, including 13 U.S. soldiers. The ISIS planner’s car was obliterated by a missile while driving through Nangahar province, eastern Afghanistan, it is claimed. US sources said the strike was approved by President Joe Biden.
A reaper drone, which took off from the Middle East, struck the militant who was in a car with an Islamic State associate. Both are believed to have been killed, an official was quoted as saying by Reuters. Afghanistan news agency Asvaka News shared images of the purported site of US drone attack, showing damaged walls of a house and charred vehicles, in an indication that the attack was on a civilian area.
A Pentagon spokesman also admitted thousands of Islamic State terrorists had been released by the Taliban from US prisons in Afghanistan. US troops now face a 'very difficult' few days acting as the 'rear guard' to the withdrawal. Officials have warned they fear more attempted terror attacks before all Western troops leave ahead of Tuesday's deadline.
It has also emerged that the Taliban now have access to biometric devices containing the names and details – including fingerprints – of Afghans who have helped US forces. Many Afghans, afraid that they will be hounded, are reportedly now trying to leave the country via the border with Pakistan.
With that, the great Afghan escape also ends for the British troops. The last British flights will leave Kabul shortly, leaving up to 150 Britons and more than 1,000 Afghans behind as time ticks down to the Tuesday withdrawal deadline.
The British ambassador to Afghanistan, Sir Laurie Bristow, said: ‘‘It's time to close this phase of the operation now, but we haven't forgotten the people who still need to leave. We'll continue to do everything we can to help them. Nor have we forgotten the brave, decent people of Afghanistan. They deserve to live in peace and security.’’