The mastermind behind the deadly August 2021 attack at Kabul International Airport, which claimed the lives of 13 US service members and more than 150 Afghans seeking to flee the country, has been killed, according to three US officials.
The ISIS-K operative, whose name officials did not provide, was killed by the Taliban in Afghanistan earlier this month, officials said.
The United States was not involved in the operation, the officials said, and they do not trust the Taliban to confirm that he was killed.
The United States has intelligence and other sources confirming his death, the officials said, adding that they are not providing the Taliban with operational information or intelligence. Other partners in the region share information with the Taliban.
The families of the 13 US service members killed in the attack were notified of their deaths this week, most in a brief phone call from the military. The dead included 11 Marines, a Navy Corpsman and an Army soldier.
Master Sergeant Darin «Taylor» Hoover was seriously injured in the attack and later died.
Despite his injuries, he continued to help his fellow Marines, giving them ammunition and encouraging them to keep fighting. He was 31 years old.
His father, Darin Hoover, who was briefed on the death of the ISIS-K operative on Tuesday, said he is frustrated by how little information the Pentagon and State Department have shared about that day’s attack.
“We just get things bit by bit from them and it just doesn’t work for me,” he said. «How can you have the next generation to defend this country if this is how they are treated?»
Hoover said the Marine did not provide the name of the slain operative or any details about the operation beyond the fact that he was the individual responsible for the attack.
Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said this does not end the need for justice for the families of those killed.
“If these reports are true, every time a terrorist is taken off the board it’s a good day. But this does not diminish the Biden administration’s culpability for the failings that led to the Abbey Gate attack, and will in no way deter the committee’s investigation,» McCaul wrote in a statement. «I will not sleep until every stone has been removed and these Gold Star families have answers and justice.»