Taliban kill IS leader beh

The Islamic State (IS) group mastermind thought to have planned the devastating 2021 bombing at Kabul airport has been killed by Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban, US officials say.

The bombing that August killed 170 civilians and 13 US soldiers as people were trying to flee the country as the Taliban took control.

The IS figure was killed weeks ago but it took time to confirm his death, US officials told BBC news partner, CBS. His name has not been released.

US officials said they had determined through intelligence gathering and monitoring of the region that the leader had died, though they did not provide further details on how they had learned that he was re­sponsible for the bombing.

“Experts in the govern­ment are at high confidence that this individual… was indeed the key individual responsible,” a senior US official told CBS.

According to a report in the New York Times, the US learned of the leader’s death in early April. It is unclear whether he was targeted by the Taliban or if he was killed during ongoing fighting between IS and the Taliban, the newspaper reported.

On Monday, the US began notifying families of the soldiers killed about the death of the IS leader.

Darin Hoover, father of Marine Staff Sergeant, Tay­lor Hoover, who died in the blast, confirmed to CBS that he had been notified of the news by the Marine Corps.

“They could not tell me any details of the operation, but they did state that their sources are highly trusted, and they’ve got it from several different sources that this individual was indeed killed,” Mr Hoover said in an interview on Tuesday.

The blast came hours after Western governments warned their citizens to stay away from Kabul Interna­tional Airport, because of an imminent threat of an attack by IS-K, the Afghan­istan branch of the Islamic State group.

It happened around 18:00 local time on August 26, 2021 at the Abbey Gate to the airport, when a suicide bomber walked into the middle of families waiting outside the gate. —BBC

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