18 U.S. service members and 170 Afghans died in the ISIS-K bombing
By Sophie Boulter, World News Editor
A U.S. strike targeted suspected ISIS-K suicide bombers in Kabul on Sunday. ISIS-K, an affiliate of the Islamic State, was responsible for the Kabul attacks that killed 13 American service members and at least 170 Afghans on Thursday.
ISIS-K, or the Islamic State Khorasan Province, is the official affiliate of the Islamic State in Afghanistan. ISIS-K is an opponent of the Taliban, believing the Taliban to be too moderate in its aims.
Drones struck a vehicle containing explosives and suspected suicide bombers from ISIS-K, who were attempting to attack Kabul’s international airport. As of Wednesday, the drone strike killed ten Afghani civilians.
“U.S. military forces conducted a self-defense, unmanned, over-the-horizon airstrike today on a vehicle in Kabul, eliminating an imminent ISIS-K threat to Hamad Karzai International Airport,” U.S. Central Command spokesman Navy Capt. Bill Urban said.
The strike occurred one day after President Joe Biden warned Americans to expect another attack on the Kabul airport.
“Our commanders informed me that an attack is highly likely in the next 24 to 36 hours,” Biden said on Saturday.
The U.S. government warned Americans to leave the area around the airport as it was surrounded by crowds of people attempting to leave Afghanistan. This makes the area vulnerable to attacks from ISIS-K.
ISIS formally claimed responsibility for last Thursday’s Kabul airport attack, releasing a statement praising the ISIS-K bombers.
According to the Pentagon, a suicide bomber set off an explosion last Thursday at the Hamid Karzai International Airport near a cluster of Afghani families awaiting an evacuation flight out of Afghanistan.
In addition to the rising death toll from the attack, at least 150 people were injured, including 18 U.S. service members.
Biden delivered remarks Thursday night about the incident. In his remarks, Biden mourned the loss of service members and pledged to seek revenge on those responsible.
He held a moment of silence for the deceased service members, whom he called “heroes.”
“The lives we lost today were lives given in the service of liberty, the service of security, the service of others, in the service of America,” he said.
Biden then issued a warning directly to the attackers.
“Anyone who wishes America harm, know this: We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay,” he said.
Some Xavier students criticized Biden’s handling of the Afghanistan crisis.
“While this conflict has been on the hands of every president in our lifetime, the seemingly-wise decision to leave Afghanistan was executed in one of the most disgraceful and downright duplicitous acts of foreign policy ever seen in American History,” junior marketing major Greg Goden said.
Other students blamed American militarism for problems in Afghanistan rather than the Biden Administration.
“President Biden was in an incredibly difficult position trying to end a war that had lasted for 20 years. American interventionism had devastating consequences both for our own troops and for the people of Afghanistan,” senior Philosophy, Politics and the Public, Spanish and international studies major Maggie Ryan said.
The last American troops exited Afghanistan on Monday, putting an end to America’s longest war.