IS group leader killed in Somalia was 'financier' for deadly Kabul bombing: reports

IS group leader killed in Somalia was 'financier' for deadly Kabul bombing: reports
Bilal al-Sudani, an Islamic State group leader killed last month in Somalia, was reportedly the financier behind the deadly bombing in Kabul in August 2021.
2 min read
05 February, 2023
The bomb in Kabul killed 13 US service members and dozens of Afghans [source: Getty]

Notorious Islamic State group (IS) leader Bilal al-Sudani was behind the deadly bombing at Kabul airport in August 2021, according to US intelligence.

Al-Sudani is believed to have directed the IS group's Somalia regional hub, Al Karrar, overseeing coordination and funding operations across the group's sprawling and intensifying activities in Africa and Asia.

Links between Al Karrar and IS Khorasan in Afghanistan, who claimed responsibility for the airport attack which killed 13 US service members and dozens of Afghans, have become more extensive with a consistent exchange of money and weapons, according to US and other Western sources. 

Last week, al-Sudani along with 10 of his operatives were killed in a US special forces raid in northern Somalia, a consequence of his elevated capture-or-kill status given his role as a financier in the Kabul airport bombing, reported the New York Times.  

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US Joint Special Operations Command ramped up its efforts to kill or capture him Al-Sudani after his involvement in the bombing became clearer, the US newspaper reported, citing an unnamed senior Biden administration official.

The official said that Al-Sudani's ability to receive and transfer hundreds of thousands of dollars to IS affiliates was unrivalled.

Al-Sudani rose to prominence within Al-Shabaab, a Somalia-based militant group affiliated with Al-Qaeda. The group is known for carrying out violent attacks in Somalia, Kenya and other countries in the region. 

He was targeted by western military and intelligence operations aimed at dismantling the group’s leadership structure but managed to evade capture, until last month.

He was later linked to IS group activities, and believed to champion the terrorist organisations growing presence across Africa through the distribution of illicit funds. 

On January 25, a US Special Operations raid located the IS leader in a cave complex in Somalia, and Sudani was killed after he resisted capture.