The United States government remains committed to end its mission in Afghanistan on August 30, the Pentagon announced on Friday.
After a deadly bomb attack on the Kabul airport, where more than 170 people were killed and at least 200 were injured, Western countries had been rushing to bring their evacuation efforts to the final stage.
ISIS in Khorasan, known as ISIS-K, claimed responsibility for the attack, which also left 13 US service members dead.
Although the group did not provide evidence to support such claims, US officials said ISIS-K was likely behind the attack.
Shortly after the blasts, United States President Joe Biden said his administration would hunt those responsible for the attack.
Yesterday, a spokesman for the United States Central Command said the country’s security forces had carried out an airstrike on an ISI-K planner under a “counterterrorism” operation.
“The unmanned airstrike occurred in the Nangarhar Province of Afghanistan. Initial indications are that we killed the target. We know of no civilian casualties,” spokesman Capt. Bill Urban said in the statement.
Local and international media reported that there were far fewer people at the Kabul airport on Friday.
The Taliban parked cars on the highway nearly 500 yards before the airport’s main gate, preventing people from reaching the place.
Afghan and foreign security forces also tried to prevent people from gathering outside the airport on Friday. But despite attempts to disperse the crowds, some people tried to get to the airport, expecting to be evacuated.
The US still plans to finish the mission by the end of the month, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said yesterday.
As the date approaches, the US will begin to pull out its troops and some of its equipment “as appropriate with any retrograde.”
He added that foreign forces want to “preserve as much capability for as long as we can” in terms of security footprint and evacuating people.
Later on Friday, the Pentagon denied reports that the Taliban had taken control of the airport in the Afghan capital.
“They are not in charge of any of the gates. They are not in charge of any of the airport operations. That is still under US military control,” Kirby said.
However, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were warned by their security team about another possible terrorist attack in Kabul.
In a statement Friday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the next few days would be the most dangerous to date.