On Tuesday, President Biden delivered a speech on the Afghanistan withdrawal that was completed on Monday and threatened more airstrikes against the country’s ISIS affiliate, known as ISIS-K.
Since the US closed down its major bases in Afghanistan, it has been flying airstrikes from outside of the country, what the Pentagon is calling “over the horizon capabilities.”
“We have what’s called over the horizon capabilities, which means we can strike terrorists and targets without American boots on the ground, or very few if needed. We’ve shown that capacity just in the last week. We struck ISIS-K remotely,” Biden said. “And to ISIS-K, we are not done with you yet.”
On Sunday, the US launched a drone strike in Kabul that the Pentagon claimed killed ISIS-K suicide bombers. But witnesses on the ground told a much different story. The strike killed 10 civilians, including seven children, the youngest being two years old.
On Monday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki described this drone strike as “successful” and said the US was investigating civilian casualties, but the Pentagon has conceded it “can not dispute” the account of the witnesses.
In an interview with NPR Tuesday morning, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby also suggested US airstrikes in Afghanistan might continue. He said the US will continue to maintain the capabilities to bomb Afghanistan and “use them if and when we need to.”