A senior group leader of deadly terrorist group, ISIL (ISIS) behind the deadly suicide bombing outside the Kabul airport in August 2021, has been killed.
The ISIL (ISIS) leader, whose identity has not yet been released, was killed in southern Afghanistan in early April as the Taliban conducted a series of operations against the group, according to one of the officials.
The Taliban fighters at the time were not aware of the identity of the person they killed, the official added.
Military officials on Tuesday, briefed the father of a United States Marine killed in the attack.
The blast at the Abbey Gate entrance of the Hamid Karzai International Airport left about 170 Afghans and 13 US service members dead during the chaotic withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan.
Over the weekend, the US military began to inform the families of the 11 Marines, the sailor and the soldier who died in the attack that the ISIL (ISIS) leader had been killed.
Those family members then shared the information in a private group messaging chat, according to the mother of another Marine.
The account from the families to The Associated Press news agency was confirmed by three US officials and a senior congressional aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss details that had not yet been made public.
Darin Hoover, the father of Staff Sergeant Darin Taylor Hoover, said the Marines provided only limited information to him on Tuesday and did not identify the ISIL (ISIS) leader or give the circumstances of his death.
Hoover is among a group of 12 Gold Star families — families that have lost someone serving in the US armed forces — that have kept in touch since the bombing, supporting one another and sharing information through the messaging chat.
The chat was created by Cheryl Rex, the mother of Marine Lance Corporal Dylan Merola, who died in the blast.
Rex, a vocal critic of the Biden administration’s handling of the withdrawal, told the AP it was through the chat group that they were informed late on Monday about the killing, as they awaited official confirmation from US military officials.
Hoover said he and his son’s mother, Kelly Henson, have spent the past year and a half grieving the death of the 31-year-old Marine Corps staff sergeant and praying for accountability from the Biden administration for the handling of the withdrawal.
The killing of the unidentified ISIL (ISIS) group member, Hoover said, does nothing to help them.
“Whatever happens, it’s not going to bring Taylor back and I understand that,” he said in a phone call. “About the only thing his mom and I can do now is be an advocate for him. All we want is the truth. And we’re not getting it. That’s the frustrating part.”
His son and the other fallen service members were among those screening the thousands of Afghans frantically trying to board one of the crowded flights out of the country on 26 August, 2021, after the Taliban takeover.
The scene of desperation quickly turned into one of horror when a suicide bomber attacked. The ISIL (ISIS) group claimed responsibility.
The blast at Abbey Gate came hours after Western officials warned of a major attack, urging people to leave the airport. But that advice went largely unheeded by Afghans desperate to escape in the last few days of a US-led evacuation before the US officially ended its 20-year presence in the country.