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Biden follows through on threats, strikes ISIS-K targets

After Thursday's attack, Biden said, "We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay." He's since followed through.

On Thursday afternoon, in the aftermath of a deadly terrorist attack in Kabul, President Joe Biden spoke from the White House and vowed to retaliate: "To those who carried out this attack, as well as anyone who wishes America harm, know this: We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay."

We didn't have to wait long to see the results of the American president's declaration. NBC News reported Friday night on the strike against ISIS-K, known as Islamic State Khorasan, in Afghanistan.

Two high profile Islamic State group targets were killed and one was wounded when U.S. military forces conducted a drone strike on Friday in Afghanistan, the Pentagon said Saturday. The strike in Nangarhar Province in eastern Afghanistan was apparent retaliation against those who claimed responsibility for the attack outside Kabul's airport.

In a public statement, Army Maj. Gen. William "Hank" Taylor added that there were zero known civilian casualties as part of the operation.

Unexpectedly, some on the right were displeased. After the public learned of the strike, Rep. Ralph Norman (R-Okla.) appeared on Fox News and complained, "One drone strike killing, you know, one ISIS member? I mean really, it's an embarrassment."

First, this was a rare instance in which an American politician grumbled about U.S. forces striking an ISIS target. Second, it wasn't just "one ISIS member."

And third, it wasn't the only element of the offensive.

The morning after the strike that killed high-profile ISIS targets, Biden issued a written statement that read in part, "I said we would go after the group responsible for the attack on our troops and innocent civilians in Kabul, and we have. This strike was not the last."

One day later, NBC News reported that U.S. forces had conducted another drone strike against an ISIS-K target, this time in Kabul. Navy Capt. Bill Urban, speaking on behalf of U.S. Central Command, said the operation targeted a vehicle that posed "an imminent ISIS-K threat" to Hamid Karzai International Airport, where U.S. officials believed another terrorist attack was poised to happen.

"We are confident we successfully hit the target," Urban said. "Significant secondary explosions from the vehicle indicated the presence of a substantial amount of explosive material."

Unlike a day earlier, when U.S. officials were confident about the absence of civilian casualties, CENTCOM said yesterday it was "assessing the possibilities of civilian casualties," amid multiple reports that explosions claimed lives on bystanders.

Early this morning, meanwhile, the White House issued a statement on a reported rocket attack at the airport in Kabul. Though the details are not altogether clear, The New York Times reported that the U.S. military relied on a counter-rocket system and there were "no initial reports of casualties."

As of now, the airport remains open. Watch this space.

Update: This story took a dramatic turn weeks after the initial reporting. The New York Times reported more than two weeks after the public first learned of the Aug. 29 strike that video evidence, along with multiple interviews, "raises doubts about the U.S. version of events, including whether explosives were present in the vehicle, whether the driver had a connection to ISIS, and whether there was a second explosion after the missile struck the car."