scorecardresearch
Follow Us:
Wednesday, January 26, 2022

US military focusing on ISIS cell behind attack at Kabul Airport

In the months since the attack at Kabul Airport, US intelligence analysts and military officials say they have focused on learning more about the ISIS-K strike cell and any future attacks it may be plotting against the West.

By: New York Times | Washington |
Updated: January 2, 2022 12:02:30 pm
Victims of a suicide attack at the airport arrive at a hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 26, 2021. (File Photo: Victor J. Blue/The New York Times)

Written by Eric Schmitt

Four months after an Islamic State suicide bomber killed scores of people, including 13 American service members, outside the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, US and foreign intelligence officials have pieced together a profile of the assailant.

Military commanders say they are using that information to focus on an Islamic State group cell that they believe was involved in the attack, including its leadership and foot soldiers. The cell members could be among the first insurgents struck by armed MQ-9 Reaper drones flying missions over Afghanistan from a base in the Persian Gulf. The United States has not carried out any airstrikes in the country since the last American troops left August 30.

The attack at the airport’s Abbey Gate unfolded four days earlier, during the frenzied final days of the largest noncombatant evacuation ever conducted by the US military. It was one of the deadliest attacks of the 20-year war in Afghanistan.

The Islamic State group identified the suicide bomber as Abdul Rahman al-Logari. US officials said he was a former engineering student who was one of several thousand militants freed from at least two high-security prisons after the Taliban seized control of Kabul August 15. The Taliban emptied the facilities indiscriminately, releasing not only their own imprisoned members but also fighters from Islamic State Khorasan, or ISIS-K, the group’s branch in Afghanistan and the Taliban’s nemesis.

Al-Logari was not unknown to the Americans. In 2017, the CIA tipped off Indian intelligence agents that he was plotting a suicide bombing in New Delhi, US officials said. Indian authorities foiled the attack and turned al-Logari over to the CIA.

The Parwan prison at Bagram Airfield and the Pul-e-Charkhi prison near Kabul were the Afghan government’s two main high-security prisons. Al-Logari spent time in both prisons, US officials said, but it is unclear how he linked up with the ISIS-K attack cell in Kabul, or why and how he came to be the Abbey Gate bomber.

In the months since the attack, US intelligence analysts and military officials say they have focused on learning more about the ISIS-K strike cell and any future attacks it may be plotting against the West.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines

For all the latest World News, download Indian Express App.

  • Newsguard
  • The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.
  • Newsguard
0 Comment(s) *
* The moderation of comments is automated and not cleared manually by indianexpress.com.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement