ISIS-K commander told CNN the group was waiting to 'strike' two weeks before Kabul airport attack
A CNN reporter interviewed a senior ISIS-K commander two weeks before the deadly attack outside Kabul's airport on Thursday.
The commander from Kunar Province, whose real identity was disguised, told journalist Clarissa Ward at a hotel in Kabul that his group was "laying low and waiting for a time to strike," CNN reported Friday.
These were "words that turned out to be eerily prophetic," noted Ward, who said the commander claimed he had no problem getting through checkpoints to enter Kabul and allowed her crew to film his entry into the city to prove the point.
The commander, who asked to be called Abdul Munir, talked about his group fighting U.S. forces, clashing with the Taliban, and experiencing suicide bombings and public executions.
"Yes, I have too many memories where I was present myself at these scenes," he said through a translator. He then recalled one memory about a specific incident involving fighters from another group. "During the fighting, we captured five people. Our fighters became overexcited and struck them with axes," he said.
The commander also talked about a "plan" to expand the group as foreigners left the country. With them gone, he said, "We can restart our operations." The commander said he could not speak for plans outside of Afghanistan, claiming that's above his level.
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ISIS-K claimed responsibility for the suicide blast outside Hamid Karzai International Airport that killed at least 60 Afghans and 13 U.S. service members on Thursday, according to Afghan and U.S. officials. The attack happened hours after the State Department warned U.S. citizens to "immediately" clear away from the gates due to threats.
President Joe Biden vowed to hunt down those responsible for the attack but remains committed to the Aug. 31 troop withdrawal deadline he set. On Saturday, local time, the U.S. military conducted a drone strike targeting an ISIS-K "planner."
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Tags: News, Afghanistan, CNN, Media, ISIS, National Security
Original Author: Daniel Chaitin
Original Location: ISIS-K commander told CNN the group was waiting to 'strike' two weeks before Kabul airport attack