President Biden said Thursday he had ordered plans to strike ISIS-K targets following the attack near Kabul airport.
“To those who carried out this attack as well as to all those who wish America harm on America, know this: We will not forgive. We will not forget. We’re going to hunt you down and make you pay, ”Biden said.
ISIS in Khorasan, known as ISIS-K, claimed that an ISIS activist carried out the suicide bombing, but provided no evidence to support this claim.
US officials warned last week that the threat of a terrorist attack at the airport was growing more acute. Earlier Thursday local time, US diplomats in Kabul warned US citizens to leave several airport gates “immediately”, citing security threats.
But who is ISIS-K? ISIS-Khorasan is a branch of the terrorist group that first emerged in Syria and Iraq. While affiliates share an ideology and tactics, the depth of their relationship when it comes to organization and command and control has never been fully established.
U.S. intelligence officials previously told CNN that ISIS-K members include “a small number of veteran Syrian jihadists and other foreign terrorist fighters,” saying the United States has identified 10 to 15 of its main agents in Afghanistan. The group’s name comes from its terminology for the area which includes Afghanistan and Pakistan: “Khorasan”.
The US Department of Defense Inspector General for Afghanistan (SIGAR) said in a report covering the months of April to June this year that “ISIS-Khorasan has exploited political instability and escalating violence. during the quarter by attacking minority sectarian targets and infrastructure to spread fear and underscore the inability of the Afghan government to provide adequate security. “
ISIS-K has trained cells in Kabul that have carried out a number of devastating suicide bombings in and beyond the Afghan capital since 2016.
The group has established itself in recent years in eastern Afghanistan, particularly in the provinces of Nangahar and Kunar. Last August, the group attacked the main prison in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangahar, in an attempt to free dozens of their supporters who had been captured by the Afghan army and police.
Learn more about the group here.
CNN’s Nikki Carvajal, Jim Sciutto and Tim Lister contributed to the reporting of this post.
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