The Taliban condemned on Saturday, a U.S. drone strike against Islamic State militants following Thursday’s suicide attack outside Kabul airport, with a spokesman describing the operation as a “clear attack on Afghan territory”.
Zabihullah Mujahid said the Taliban expected to take full control of Kabul airport very shortly, once U.S. forces leave, and would announce a full cabinet in the coming days.
He said officials had already been appointed to run key institutions including the ministries of public health and education and the central bank. He also said he expected the serious economic turbulence which has hit the afghani currency to ease soon.
The United States military struck back at the Islamic State on Saturday, bombing an IS member in Afghanistan less than 48 hours after a devastating suicide bombing claimed by the group killed as many as 169 Afghans and 13 American service members at the Kabul airport.
U.S. Central Command said the U.S. conducted a drone strike against an Islamic State member in Nangahar believed to be involved in planning attacks against the U.S. in Kabul. The strike killed one individual and spokesman Navy Capt. William Urban said they knew of no civilian casualties.
It wasn’t clear if that individual was involved specifically in the Thursday suicide blast outside the gates of the Kabul airport, where crowds of Afghans were desperately trying to get in as part of the ongoing evacuation from the country after the Taliban’s rapid takeover.
The airstrike fulfilled a vow President Joe Biden made to the nation Thursday when he said the perpetrators of the attack would not be able to hide. “We will hunt you down and make you pay,” he said. Pentagon leaders told reporters Friday that they were prepared for whatever retaliatory action the president ordered.