The U.S. has executed an unmanned airstrike targeting an ISIS-K planner on the heels of the deadly terror attack in Kabul that left many dead, including 13 American service members.
"U.S. military forces conducted an over-the-horizon counterterrorism operation today against an ISIS-K planner," U.S. Central Command spokesman Capt. Bill Urban, USN, said in a statement. "The unmanned airstrike occurred in the Nangarhar Province of Afghanistan. Initial indications are that we killed the target. We know of no civilian casualties."
CENTCOM Statement on Counterterrorism Strike https://t.co/L3UgtvPa6k— U.S. Central Command (@U.S. Central Command)1630116928.0
During a speech on Thursday President Joe Biden pledged U.S. retaliation in response to the attack and noted that he had called for the development of operational plans to attack ISIS-K's assets, leadership, and facilities.
"To those who carried out this attack ... know this: We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay," Biden declared during remarks on Thursday after the terror attack.
The deaths of the 13 U.S. service members in Afghanistan marked the first American military combat fatalities in that country since February 2020, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Even before the Thursday attack the Biden administration had been facing heavy criticism from Republicans for botching efforts to pull the U.S. out of Afghanistan. The Taliban has swiftly taken over in the country, seizing the capital city of Kabul earlier this month, and the U.S. has been scrambling to evacuate citizens and others.
Details have been emerging about the American service members who died as a result of the attack. One of the victims was 20-year-old Marine Rylee McCollum, whose wife is expecting to give birth in three weeks, his sister Cheyenne McCollum said, according to the Associated Press.
"We want to make sure that people know that these are the kids that are sacrificing themselves, and he's got a family who loves him and a wife who loves him and a baby that he'll never get to meet," she said.