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Taliban kills mastermind of Kabul airport suicide bombing

The leader of the Islamic State cell that bombed the Kabul airport in August 2021, leaving 13 U.S. troops and close to 170 civilians dead, has been killed by the Taliban, senior U.S. officials told The New York Times and The Washington Post.

The official did not share the individual's name, only saying they had "high confidence" he was the mastermind of the airport attack, which took place as U.S. troops were evacuating people from Kabul following the Taliban's takeover. It isn't clear whether the Taliban purposely targeted the ISIS leader or if he was killed in a battle between the two groups, the Times reports. The U.S. was not involved in the operation, officials said.

The ISIS affiliate in Afghanistan is called Islamic State-Khorasan, or ISIS-K. Leaked military documents recently obtained by the Post say ISIS-K is actively planning terrorist attacks in Europe and Asia and conducting "aspirational plotting" against the U.S., seeking to target churches, embassies, and business complexes. In March, Gen. Michael "Erik" Kurilla, the top U.S. military commander in the region, told the House Armed Services Committee that ISIS has expanded in Afghanistan, and due to its quick growth could soon be able to launch attacks outside the country "with little to no warning."