US Says Taliban Killed ISIS-K Leader Behind Kabul Airport Bombing

Officials described the person as the 'mastermind' of the airport attack

US officials said on Tuesday that the Taliban has killed an ISIS-K leader that was responsible for the suicide bombing at the Kabul airport during the US evacuation from Afghanistan, which killed 170 Afghan civilians and 13 US troops.

“Experts in the government are at high confidence that this individual … was indeed the key individual responsible” for the attack on Hamid Karzai International Airport on August 26, 2021, a Biden administration official told CBS News.

US officials described the ISIS-K member as the “mastermind” of the attack but said the White House won’t release the name. Officials said the US government was not involved in the Taliban operation, which took place in recent weeks.

The US was not notified by the Taliban about the operation, and the officials said they came to the conclusion through intelligence gathering. The Taliban is a sworn enemy of ISIS-K and has been fighting the group both before and after the US withdrawal.

The Washington Post reported in 2020 that the US was providing the Taliban with air support against ISIS-K during battles in Afghanistan’s northeastern Kunar Province while still fighting the war against the Taliban elsewhere in the country.

A few days after the Kabul airport bombing, the US launched a drone strike in the Afghan capital on August 29, 2021, that killed 10 civilians, including seven children. The Pentagon initially claimed the strike killed ISIS-K members and prevented another airport attack but later admitted it only killed civilians.

Documents obtained by The New York Times revealed the military was aware almost immediately that civilians were killed in the strike but lied about it to the media. The Pentagon investigated the drone strike and decided nobody should be punished for the slaughter.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.