US releases identity of target of first Afghanistan drone strike during withdrawal

·2 min read

The U.S. military has identified the person who was targeted in the first of two drone strikes in Afghanistan during the withdrawal and evacuation from the country.

Kabir Aidi, who also was known as Mustafa, was killed in an Aug. 27 drone strike in Nangahar, Afghanistan, U.S. Central Command revealed Thursday, nearly a month after the strike took place.

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He “was an ISIS-K high-profile attack lethal aid facilitator involved in attack planning and magnetic IED production,” Army Maj. John Rigsbee, a CENTCOM spokesman, said in a statement to the Washington Examiner.

Aidi was “directly connected” to the local Islamic State leaders who orchestrated the bombing at Hamid Karzai International Airport that killed 13 U.S. service members and more than 170 people in total.

“Post-strike reflections indicate that Kabir Aidi was directly connected to the ISIS-K leaders that coordinated the August 26 attack at [Hamid Karzai International Airport],” he added. “He was directly connected to threat streams in Kabul throughout the noncombatant evacuation at the Hamid Karzai International Airport,” including “the reported distribution of explosives and suicide vests.”

There was a second individual killed in the strike, identified as an ISIS collaborator, though this person's identity remains unknown, according to a person familiar with the strike.

He was also involved in the Kabul University attack on Nov. 2, 2020, Rigsbee said.

At the time of the strike, Navy Capt. Bill Urban, another CENTCOM spokesman, announced that the military “conducted an over-the-horizon counterterrorism operation today against an ISIS-K planner,” adding that "initial indications are that we killed the target” and “know of no civilian casualties.”

A day after the strike and Urban's statement, Maj. Gen. Hank Taylor, the deputy director of the Joint Staff For Regional Operations, said that two "high-profile ISIS targets were killed and one was wounded," though these other individuals were not identified.

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Two days later, the U.S. fired off another drone strike, the target of which turned out to be an aid worker with no affiliation to the terror group that targeted the troops at HKAI seeking to evacuate thousands of third-country nationals and Afghans who could have been in danger under the Taliban's leadership.

This strike, which the military apologized for, killed 10 civilians, seven of whom were children. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall selected Lt. Gen. Sam Said to “investigate the facts and circumstances relating to the civilian casualty event."

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Tags: News, National Security, Foreign Policy, Department of Defense, Afghanistan, War in Afghanistan, ISIS

Original Author: Mike Brest

Original Location: US releases identity of target of first Afghanistan drone strike during withdrawal

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