My colleagues Bonchie and Streiff expressed important concerns about the drone strike retaliation attack on ISIS-K that the Biden Administration is claiming happened last night.
U.S. Reaper drone flew to Afghanistan from a base in the Middle East a few hours ago to kill the ISIS-K ‘planner’ who was plotting ‘future attacks’ on U.S. forces in Kabul. The ISIS-K planner was killed while driving in a vehicle along with an ‘associate,’ official says.
Unfortunately, because they have told us so many lies at this point of the Afghanistan debacle, it’s really hard to accept what they say without proof. Indeed, assuming this report is true, there’s a real question of proportionality of response here, as Streiff noted. Not to mention, holding the Taliban accountable for this, as well.
The Pentagon briefing this morning didn’t help provide any more assurances, although they did try to use Joe Biden’s “over the horizon” phrase a lot.
MG Taylor: Yesterday, U.S. military forces conducted an over-the-horizon counterterrorism operation against an ISIS-K planner and facilitator. […] I can confirm now that two high-profile ISIS targets were killed, one wounded, and we know of zero civilian casualties. pic.twitter.com/VTEtsamXzl
Major General Hank Taylor said that he could now confirm that “two high-profile ISIS targets were killed, one wounded, and we know of zero civilian casualties.”
“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.
But they refused to name who the people were who were killed or provide any further details.
Pentagon will not release names of the 2 ‘high-profile’ ISIS planners killed in single U.S. drone strike: Kirby
Now, I get withholding details for operational reasons; you don’t want to compromise intelligence. But then, also how do you even confirm who, if anyone, was taken out? How do we know if this wasn’t a night watchman at an aspirin factory?
They also seem to have found this person rather quickly. Which makes me wonder: did they already know where he was, even before the suicide attack?
Again, the Biden Administration didn’t seem on the same page with even basic information.
State Department yesterday: Taliban and Haqqani network are “separate entities”
Pentagon today: There is “commingling…marbling” between the Taliban and Haqqani network
The Taliban has put a most-wanted, Haqqani terrorist in charge of security in Kabul — someone who we have a $5 million bounty on — and the Biden team is likely dealing with him or his operatives around the airport. So maybe, they should know that, yes, they are co-mingled?
Kirby also confirmed that they had begun drawing down the troops and that the target date to leave was still August 31.
Taylor claimed they’d gotten out 5,400 Americans. But one of the reporters claimed the number of passengers on the flights had gone down. Neither Kirby nor Taylor could clarified why that would be. That doesn’t sound good for the folks still left trying to get out. Kirby claimed that Afghans and US passport holders were still being allowed into the airport.
Previously, Kirby acknowledged that the Biden administration’s actions likely resulted in the release of thousands of ISIS members from prison at Bagram Air Base.