ISIS-K Leader Behind Kabul Airport Bombing Killed by Taliban, US Says

The man who planned the bombing attack in which 183 people died during the chaotic international withdrawal from Afghanistan has been killed, according to the US.
isis-k kabul airport blast taliban

A key ISIS-K official responsible for the deadly Kabul airport suicide bombing in 2021 has been killed by the Taliban, the US has confirmed.  

The man, who has not been named, killed 13 US troops and 170 Afghans at Hamid Karzai International Airport in August 2021 as thousands of people gathered to try and escape the country after the Taliban swept to power.

The announcement comes amid increasing scrutiny of US President Joe Biden's handling of the evacuation from Afghanistan following a review of the events of August 2021, just as he announced his intention to run for the second term. 


John Kirby, the US National Security Council spokesman, used a press briefing to report the death of the "mastermind" behind the suicide bombing by ISIS-K, the Afghan offshoot of the Islamic State group, during the chaotic evacuation operation.

Other US officials have confirmed that the Taliban had killed a key official responsible for the attack in an operation in early April. 

The Taliban in Kabul has yet to comment on the latest reports from Washington. 

He said: "The ISIS-K terrorist who was the mastermind of the horrific attack at Abbey Gate that killed 13 brave American servicemembers and many others has been removed from the battlefield."

The unnamed man walked into the crowd of Afghans and families waiting at the Abbey Gate, hoping to get on one of the planes leaving the country as the Taliban was swiftly taking over.

One year earlier, the US government reached a peace deal with the Taliban after 20 years of fighting the group in Afghanistan, in which the US promised to withdraw all NATO forces from the country. 

The US government's updates come amid increasing criticism of Biden's administration for poor handling of the evacuation from Afghanistan by Republican lawmakers, following the release of a 12-page summary document of the after-action review. Biden has refused to take any blame for mishandling the operation during his administration's first year in charge, saying it had inherited a deal with the Taliban from his predecessor Donald Trump.

Kirby added that Biden's directives during those chaotic days were “force protection" and that “he accepted the recommendation of his national security team to extend the timeline for evacuations only after his senior military officials confirmed that they had sufficient resources and authorities to mitigate threats, including those threats posed by ISIS-K.”

ABC News reported that a senior US official confirmed that the ISIS-K official responsible for the suicide bombing was killed in recent weeks, but added that the Taliban did not pass the information to the US. The official also stated that the operation was not conducted directly with the Taliban, and the US was not partnering with the Taliban. However, the official added: “We do think the outcome is a significant one.”