US Department of Defense press secretary John Kirby (file photo). Photograph:( AFP )
After completing the US troops pullout from Afghanistan, the Pentagon said on Tuesday that it will continue to conduct drone strikes against the Islamic State-Khorasan (ISIS-K) and other terrorist groups operating in the country
After completing the US troops pullout from Afghanistan, the Pentagon said on Tuesday that it will continue to conduct drone strikes against the Islamic State-Khorasan (ISIS-K) and other terrorist groups operating in the country.
The US military had earlier carried out drone strikes against an ISIS-K planner after the group claimed responsibility of the recent deadly Kabul Airport suicide bombing, which killed at least 169 Afghans and 13 US service members.
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Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told Fox News, “We have the capability from an over the horizon perspective of ensuring our national security interests are protected and defended.”
"And what I would tell you, without getting into hypotheticals or speculating about future operations, we're going to continue to maintain those capabilities and use them if and when we need to," the official added.
Meanwhile, Al Qaeda, the terror group at the heart of the 20-year US war in Afghanistan, "congratulated" the Taliban for "defeating the Americans". It was the 9/11 terror attacks of 2001 orchestrated by Osama bin Laden that led to the invasion of Afghanistan by the US, and the killing of the al Qaeda chief in 2011 in Pakistan.
Even as Taliban promises to be different this time, there are signs of terrorist organisations aligning themselves with the new de facto rulers of Afghanistan, with al Qaeda setting its sights on India's Kashmir in a 'congratulatory letter'.
In a letter made available on social media, the group said it is the "third time that the Afghan nation within a span of less than two centuries has successfully expelled an invading force."
Significantly, it also mentioned Kashmir.
"Liberate the Levant, Somalia, Yemen, Kashmir and the rest of the Islamic lands" from the "clutches of the enemy", it exhorted the Taliban.
(With inputs from agencies)