Sunday, May 5

Taliban kill mastermind of suicide bombing at Kabul airport

WASHINGTON — The Taliban have killed the senior Islamic State group chief behind the August 2021 suicide bombing exterior the Kabul airport that left 13 U.S. service members and about 170 Afghans lifeless, in accordance with the daddy of a Marine killed within the assault who was briefed Tuesday by army officers.

Over the weekend, the U.S. army started to tell households of the 11 Marines, the sailor and the soldier killed within the blast at Abbey Gate in the course of the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. And these members of the family shared the data in a non-public group messaging chat, in accordance with the mom of one other Marine.

The account from the households to The Associated Press was confirmed by three U.S. officers and a senior congressional aide, who spoke on situation of anonymity to debate particulars that had not but been made public.

The IS chief, whose id has not but been launched, was killed in southern Afghanistan in early April because the Taliban carried out a sequence of operations in opposition to the Islamic State group, in accordance with one of many officers. The Taliban on the time weren’t conscious of the id of the particular person they killed, the official added.

Darin Hoover, the daddy of Staff Sgt. Darin Taylor Hoover, stated the Marines offered solely restricted info to him Tuesday and didn’t establish the Islamic State chief or give the circumstances of his demise.

Hoover is amongst a gaggle of 12 Gold Star households which have stored in contact for the reason that bombing, supporting each other and sharing info by the messaging chat. The chat was created by Cheryl Rex, the mom of Marine Lance Cpl. Dylan Merola, who died within the blast.

Rex, who has been a vocal critic of the Biden administration’s dealing with of the withdrawal, instructed the AP it was by the chat group that they have been knowledgeable late Monday concerning the killing as they awaited official affirmation from U.S. army officers.

Hoover stated he and his son’s mom, Kelly Henson, have spent the previous 12 months and a half grieving the demise of the 31-year-old Marine Corps workers sergeant and praying for accountability from the Biden administration for the dealing with of the withdrawal.

The killing of the unidentified Islamic State group member, Hoover stated, does nothing to assist them.

“Whatever happens, it’s not going to bring Taylor back and I understand that,” he stated in a cellphone name. “About the only thing his mom and I can do now is be an advocate for him. All we want is the truth. And we’re not getting it. That’s the frustrating part.”

His son and the opposite fallen service members have been amongst these screening the 1000’s of Afghans frantically attempting on Aug. 26, 2021, to get onto one of many crowded flights in another country after the Taliban takeover. The scene of desperation shortly changed into one in all horror when a suicide bomber attacked. The Islamic State group claimed accountability.

The blast at Abbey Gate got here hours after Western officers warned of a significant assault, urging folks to depart the airport. But that recommendation went largely unheeded by Afghans determined to flee the nation in the previous couple of days of an American-led evacuation earlier than the U.S. formally ended its 20-year presence.

The Afghanistan-based offshoot of the Islamic State, with as much as 4,000 members, is the Taliban’s most bitter enemy and high risk militarily. The group has continued to hold out assaults in Afghanistan for the reason that Taliban takeover, particularly in opposition to the nation’s minority teams.

After the Trump administration reached a 2020 cope with the Taliban to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan and the Biden administration adopted by on that settlement in 2021, there had been hope in Washington that the Taliban’s need for worldwide recognition and help for the nation’s impoverished inhabitants may reasonable their habits.

But relations between the U.S. and the Taliban have deteriorated considerably since they imposed draconian new measures banning ladies from faculty and excluding ladies from working for worldwide support and well being companies.

However, a line of communication nonetheless exists between the 2 sides, led by the U.S. particular envoy for Afghanistan, Tom West. West’s contacts are primarily with Taliban officers in Kabul and never with the group’s extra ideological wing primarily based in Kandahar.

The August 2021 pullout of U.S. troops led to the swift collapse of the Afghan authorities and army, which the U.S. had supported for almost 20 years, and the return to energy of the Taliban. In the aftermath, President Joe Biden directed {that a} broad evaluate study “every aspect of this from top to bottom” and it was launched earlier this month.

The Biden administration within the publicly launched model of the evaluate largely laid blame on President Donald Trump for the lethal and chaotic 2021 withdrawal, which was punctuated by the suicide bombing at Abbey Gate.

News of the killing got here on the identical day that Biden formally introduced he’ll search a second time period as president, providing a reminder of one of the crucial troublesome chapters of his presidency. The disastrous drawdown was, on the time, the largest disaster that the comparatively new administration had confronted. It left sharp questions on Biden and his group’s competence and expertise – the dual pillars central to his marketing campaign for the White House.

Associated Press writers Lolita C. Baldor, Tara Copp and Ellen Knickmeyer contributed to this report.

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