ISIS Kabul airport attack was reputational hit to Taliban, not US: Russian diplomat
The ISIS attack that targeted Kabul airport was a challenge directed towards the Taliban not the US, Russian Ambassador to Afghanistan Dmitry Zhirnov said on Saturday.
“The war is irreconcilable. If it was indeed ISIS in the airport, then it was a challenge not to the US but to the Taliban. Because the Taliban took responsibility over Afghanistan at the moment,” state news agency TASS quoted Zhirnov as saying.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing at Kabul airport on Thursday which led to the deaths of at least 100 Afghans and 13 US servicemen and injured scores more.
“Naturally, they could not be fully held responsible for what is happening around the airport. But the [damage is] to their image: the Taliban have just entered Kabul, and then this happens,” Zhirnov said.
The Russian diplomat said he expected the Taliban to react “harshly” towards ISIS.
The US retaliated with a drone strike early Saturday, which the Pentagon said killed a “facilitator and a planner” of ISIS-K, the arm of the group in Afghanistan.
The Taliban condemned the US airstrike and said the US should have informed the group before carrying out a strike on Afghan territory.
Biden said on Saturday the that the US was preparing for more strikes against ISIS-K and that Washington believes another attack is “highly likely in the next 24-36 hours.”