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The Pentagon has said that two ISIS-K targets were killed and one wounded in the drone strike responding to the suicide attack in Kabul, after earlier confirming only one kill.
The two killed targets were 'high profile', but were not senior members of ISIS-K, Army Major Gen. William D. 'Hank' Taylor said at a Pentagon briefing on Saturday, saying there were no known civilian casualties.
The retaliatory strike was launched a day after an ISIS-K suicide bomber blew himself up outside the walls of Kabul airport, killing 13 US troops and scores of Afghan civilians.
The Pentagon described the two targets killed in the drone strike as a 'planner' and 'facilitator' of ISIS-K plots who were involved in planning additional future attacks in Kabul, but declined to name them.
'They lost a planner and they lost a facilitator and got one wounded. The fact that two of these individuals are no longer walking on the face of the Earth, that's a good thing,' said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.
It was not immediately clear whether the targeted ISIS-K members were directly involved in Thursday's airport attack. The U.S. military had initially said one person was killed.
'They were ISIS-K planners and facilitators and that's enough reason there alone. I won't speak to the details of these individuals and what their specific roles might be,' Kirby said. He added: 'We have the ability and the means to carry over the horizon counterterrorism capabilities and we´re going to defend ourselves.'
Kirby declined to say whether all three suspects were intentional targets of the strike, saying: 'It was a single mission to get these targets and as the assessments and information flowed over time, we were able to recognize that another was killed as well and one wounded.'
Another defense official told CNN that the strike on Friday only took place after surveillance on the compound confirmed the target's wife and children had left.
The Pentagon said on Saturday that two ISIS-K targets had been killed in the drone strike responding to the suicide attack in Kabul, after earlier confirming only one kill
Afghan families live in a temporary shelter at a park in Kabul, Afghanistan on Saturday after the Taliban sealed off the airport
Biden authorized the drone strike and it was ordered by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, a defense official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to provide details not yet publicly announced.
The Pentagon said that 6,800 people had been evacuated from Afghanistan in the past 24 hours, and that 1,400 people are now screened and inside the airport for processing and removal.
Since July, 117,000 people have been evacuated by US and NATO forces, including 5,400 US citizens, said Taylor.
However, hope for escape is dwindling for anyone not already inside the airport, after the Taliban sealed off access to the airport on Saturday to most Afghans hoping to leave.
The Pentagon insisted that some gates at the airport remain open and that US passport holders can still get in.
However, the US Embassy in Kabul issued an urgent alert on Saturday warning citizens not to approach the airport and avoid airport gates.
'U.S. citizens who are at the Abbey gate, East gate, North gate or the New Ministry of Interior gate now should leave immediately,' the Embassy said in the alert.
The rescue operation is entering in its final hours ahead of President Joe Biden's Tuesday deadline for withdrawal, and US troops will now shift their focus to the final removal or destruction of equipment and extraction of service members.
Most NATO nations have now flown out their troops after two decades in Afghanistan, winding down a frantic airlift that Western leaders acknowledged was still leaving many of their citizens and local allies behind.
The United States, which says the round-the-clock flights have evacuated more than 100,000 people since the Taliban claimed Kabul on August 15, was keeping up airlifts ahead of Biden's Tuesday deadline.