Taliban kill suspected mastermind of 2021 Kabul airport bombing
The Islamic State group mastermind thought to have planned the devastating suicide bombing at Kabul airport in 2021 has been killed by the Taliban, US officials say. Although his name has not been released, he is believed to have been killed weeks back.
It took time to confirm his death, US officials informed CBS. The deadly bombing on 26 August 2021 around 18:00 local time at the Abbey Gate to the airport killed 170 civilians and 13 US soldiers.
A suicide bomber walked into the middle of a crowd waiting outside the gate, hoping to get accepted on to an evacuation flight as US troops withdrew from Afghanistan – putting an end to America’s longest war. The Afghan government and military, which the US had supported for 20 years, soon collapsed, leading to the return of power to the Taliban forces.
The bombing came hours after Western governments raised alarms over staying in close proximity to the Kabul International Airport, owing to an imminent threat of an attack by IS-K. Following the blast, the US soon carried out a drone strike in the Afghan capital, saying it had targeted a suicide bomber. But it later admitted the attack had killed ten civilians, including seven kids.
In relation to the latest development, US officials did not elaborate on how they had learned the IS figure was responsible for the blast. A report in the New York Times said the US came to know about the leader’s death in early April, although it’s unclear whether he was killed during ongoing conflict between IS and the Taliban or he was targeted by the group.
The US has started notifying families of the soldiers killed in the bombing about the IS figure’s death. In an interview on Tuesday, the father of Marine Staff Sergeant Taylor Hoover, one of the victims, confirmed to CBS that he was aware of the news.