FOX 2 - WASHINGTON (AP) -- The United States military struck back at the Islamic State on Saturday, bombing an IS member in Afghanistan less than 48 hours after a devastating suicide bombing claimed by the group killed as many as 169 Afghans and 13 American service members at the Kabul airport.
U.S. Central Command said the U.S. conducted a drone strike against an Islamic State member in Nangahar believed to be involved in planning attacks against the U.S. in Kabul. The strike killed one individual, and spokesman Navy Capt. William Urban said they knew of no civilian casualties.
It wasn't clear if that individual was involved specifically in the Thursday suicide blast outside the gates of the Kabul airport, where crowds of Afghans were desperately trying to get in as part of the ongoing evacuation from the country after the Taliban's rapid takeover.
The airstrike fulfilled a vow President Joe Biden made to the nation Thursday when he said the perpetrators of the attack would not be able to hide. "We will hunt you down and make you pay," he said. Pentagon leaders told reporters Friday that they were prepared for whatever retaliatory action the president ordered.
"We have options there right now," said Maj. Gen. Hank Taylor of the Pentagon's Joint Staff.
Late Friday, the State Department again urged Americans to stay away from airport gates, including "the New Ministry of Interior gate."
Few new details about the attack emerged a day later, but the Pentagon corrected its initial report that there had been suicide bombings at two locations. It said there was just one -- at or near the Abbey Gate, followed by gunfire. The initial report of a second bombing at the nearby Baron Hotel proved to be false, said Maj. Gen. Hank Taylor of the Pentagon's Joint Staff; he attributed the mistake to initial confusion.
Based on a preliminary assessment, U.S. officials believe the suicide vest used in the attack, which killed at least 169 Afghans in addition to the 13 Americans, carried about 25 pounds of explosives and was loaded with shrapnel, a U.S. official said Friday. A suicide bomb typically carries five to 10 pounds of explosives, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss preliminary assessments of the bombing.
Biden said in an address to the nation after the attack that the perpetrators cannot hide, and he vowed to strike back at the Islamic State group's Afghanistan affiliate. "We will hunt you down and make you pay," he said.
Taylor said the Pentagon will be prepared.
"We have options there right now" to enable whatever retaliatory action may be ordered, Taylor said.
Associated Press writers Aamer Madhani, Darlene Superville and Nomaan Merchant in Washington contributed to this report.