The United States has confirmed that the Taliban killed the alleged “mastermind” behind the suicide attack at Kabul’s international airport in August 2021, which killed 13 US troops and numerous civilians. According to US officials cited by Reuters, the Islamic State leader, whose identity has not yet been released, was killed in southern Afghanistan in early April during a series of operations against the group by the Taliban. The Taliban were reportedly not aware of the person’s identity at the time of the killing.
The White House spokesperson, John Kirby, said in a statement that the ISIS-K official was directly involved in plotting operations such as the attack on the Abbey Gate entrance to the Kabul airport. Kirby added that the killing of the alleged mastermind meant that he was no longer able to plan or conduct attacks.
The Afghan affiliate of the Islamic State, known as ISIS-K, is reportedly an enemy of the Taliban. The group first appeared in eastern Afghanistan in 2014 and later expanded into other areas. Despite hopes that the Taliban’s desire for international recognition and assistance might moderate their behavior, relations between the US and the Taliban have deteriorated significantly in recent months due to the Taliban’s draconian measures, including banning girls from school and excluding women from working for international aid and health agencies.
The killing of an alleged mastermind behind a suicide attack in Kabul in 2021, and the ongoing conflict between the Taliban and ISIS-K in Afghanistan. It also highlights the deteriorating relationship between the US and the Taliban due to the latter’s recent actions.