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UK planning to take out ISIS-K chiefs responsible for plotting Kabul airport blast

The UK was last night plotting the elimination of Isis-K leaders responsible for the Kabul atrocity as it emerged that two British nationals and the child of another Briton were among at least 170 killed in the attack.

Ministers said they were prepared to ‘take action’ to deal with the terror threat as the death toll continued to rise following the suicide bomb blast which signalled the biggest single loss of American troops in Afghanistan for a decade.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab confirmed the deaths of two British adults as well as injuries to two others. It is understood the child who died was a teenager.

Mr Raab said: ‘These were innocent people and it is a tragedy that as they sought to bring their loved ones to safety in the UK they were murdered by cowardly terrorists.

‘Yesterday’s despicable attack underlines the dangers facing those in Afghanistan and reinforces why we are doing all we can to get people out. We are offering consular support to their families.

‘We will not turn our backs on those who look to us in their hour of need and we will never be cowed by terrorists.’ 

The UK was last night plotting the elimination of Isis-K leaders responsible for the Kabul atrocity as it emerged that two British nationals and the child of another Briton were among at least 170 killed in the attack

Ministers said they were prepared to 'take action' to deal with the terror threat as the death toll continued to rise following the suicide bomb blast which signalled the biggest single loss of American troops in Afghanistan for a decade. Above: The aftermath of the blast

Ministers said they were prepared to ‘take action’ to deal with the terror threat as the death toll continued to rise following the suicide bomb blast which signalled the biggest single loss of American troops in Afghanistan for a decade. Above: The aftermath of the blast

Papers left in embassy put Afghan allies in danger

The Defence Secretary has expressed fury at Foreign Office staff who left documents identifying vulnerable Afghans at the British embassy. 

Ben Wallace said the security lapse was ‘clearly not good enough’ as it left the details of those who had been working with Britain free for the Taliban to find. 

Speaking to LBC yesterday, he added that the Prime Minister would be ‘asking some questions’ about the failure to destroy the potentially life threatening information. 

And Tom Tugendhat, Tory chairman of the foreign affairs committee, said the debacle would form part of an upcoming Commons inquiry with ‘evidence already coming in’. 

The blunder emerged when Anthony Loyd, a reporter for The Times, came across the documents while accompanying a Taliban patrol. 

Papers scattered around a barbecue were found to identify seven Afghans – including a senior embassy figure. 

They also revealed the details of two people applying for jobs. 

Some of the staff members had already been evacuated to the UK, The Times found when reporters called the numbers listed. But the fate of at least two job applicants remains unknown. 

The Foreign Office said ‘every effort was made to destroy sensitive material’. 

Heartbreaking tributes began emerging last night to those named among the dead. Boris Johnson branded the attack ‘contemptible’ while Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said he was ‘incredibly sad’ to learn that British nationals had lost their lives.

He added: ‘Getting your family to safety should not cost you your life. We must urgently help those left behind to avoid any more tragic deaths.’ 

Yesterday it emerged that the fatalities were the result of a single suicide bomb attack rather than two blasts as previously believed. 

An Isis-K terrorist is thought to have detonated a suicide vest in the middle of families waiting for evacuation flights near a sewage canal by the airport.

Afghans were still desperate to escape yesterday as the clock ticked down on evacuation efforts with hundreds queuing by the sewage canal where bodies lay just hours earlier. 

Among the dead was Muhammad Niazi, a British Afghan who had travelled from London to help get his family inside the airport, according to the BBC. 

Last night his youngest child, eldest daughter and wife were still missing.

His brother Abdul Hamid, who survived, said: ‘I saw some small children in the river [canal]. It was so bad. It was doomsday.’

It is not thought that Mr Niazi was one of the British fatalities reported by the Foreign Office. At least 13 US military personnel were killed in the attack, including Navy medic Max Soviak, from Ohio, who was in his early 20s. 

Yesterday his sister Marilyn described him as a ‘beautiful, intelligent, beat-to-the-sound of his own drum, annoying, charming baby brother.’

She added: ‘He was just a kid. He was a f****** medic. There to help people. And now he is gone and my family will never be the same.’ 

His former school said he was ‘well respected and liked by everyone who knew him’.

Three US marines killed in the attack were named yesterday as Rylee McCollum, David Lee Espinoza and Kareem Nikoui. 

Yesterday Mr Nikoui’s father Steve, of California, expressed anger that his son had been sent to Afghanistan as a ‘paper pusher’ with the Taliban ‘providing security.’

He insisted: ‘I blame my own military leaders… Biden turned his back on him.’ Mr McCollum, from Wyoming, graduated from high school in 2019 before joining the Marine Corps 

Pictured: Muhammad Niazi, a British Afghan who travelled there from London to help his family

Pictured: One of Mr Niazi's daughters

Among the dead was Muhammad Niazi, a British Afghan who had travelled from London to help get his family inside the airport, according to the BBC. Last night his youngest child, eldest daughter and wife were still missing. Right: One of Mr Niazi’s daughters  

Facebook pages appearing to belong to him and his wife show wedding photos from May and indicate that the couple were expecting a child. 

Wyoming governor Mark Gordon wrote on Twitter: ‘I’m devastated to learn Wyoming lost one of our own in yesterday’s terrorist attack in Kabul. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Rylee McCollum.’

Mr Espinoza, 20, was named by police in Laredo, Texas, where he was born.

The names of three other young marines killed also emerged on Facebook last night.

Tributes were paid to Hunter Lopez, 22, from California, Staff Sergeant Taylor Hoover from Utah, and Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz, 20, from Missouri.

Earlier, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace indicated that Britain was ready to target Islamic State fighters in Afghanistan after the group claimed responsibility for the terror attack. 

The splinter group Isis-K is named after Khorasan province, a historical swathe of eastern Afghanistan. Members view the Taliban as moderates.

Mr Wallace told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘We are already on a mission to deal with Isis, whether they are in Iraq, Syria or anywhere else where they pose an imminent threat to UK citizens and indeed the interests of that country, or where we operate for mutual self-defence. 

The first US troop who was killed on Thursday at Kabul airport has been named as Navy medic Max Soviaks. Soviak, believed to be in his early 20s. He was named by his high school in Edison, New Jersey. The other 12 have not yet been named.

At least 13 US military personnel were killed in the attack, including Navy medic Max Soviak (pictured), from, Ohio, who was in his early 20s 

Marine Rylee McCollum was another of the US troops to lose their lives in the blast

Marine Rylee McCollum was another of the US troops to lose their lives in the blast

Jared Schmitz

David Lee Espinoza

Jared Schmitz (left) and David Lee Espinoza, 20 (right) both also lost their lives

‘If Isis, as it clearly does, poses an imminent threat to the UK and its people, then under international law we have the right to take action and we will take action where we see that threat emerge – and we have the ability to do that.’

Mr Wallace refused to be drawn into the type of action, but insisted the UK had the ‘capabilities’ to deal with terror threats. 

Later he suggested that the Armed Forces could target the leadership of Isis-K in the hope of eliminating the threat from lower-level fighters.

He told Times Radio: ‘There are lots of methods to find who is in charge.’

Referencing the mission to hunt down an Islamic State leader in north-west Syria in 2019, he added: ‘If you remember the United States raided and killed Al Baghdadi, the leader of Isis. It is possible to find the leadership of Isis around the world.’

Joe Biden earlier vowed to ‘hunt down’ those behind the suicide bombing and ‘make them pay’.

Last night the US President’s security team were warning that another terror attack was ‘likely’ in Kabul.

The UK’s ability to process any more evacuations from Afghanistan is now ‘extremely reduced’, the Ministry of Defence warned last night.

It said that 14,543 people had been extracted from Kabul since August 13, including 8,000 Afghans and their families under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy scheme.   


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