Joe Biden He vowed to pursue ISIS elements involved in the two suicide bombings near Kabul airport Thursday night. The US president vowed to make those involved “pay” for the attack that killed 12 US soldiers; 11 US Marines and Marines. The attack marked the first US military casualties in Afghanistan since February 2020 and the deadliest incident for US forces in the country in a decade.
Speaking from the White House, Biden said: “To those who carried out this attack, as well as to those who wish America could be hurt, know this: We will not forgive and we will not forget.
“We will chase you down and make you pay.”
He went on to say that US evacuations would continue. He did not indicate any change in the target of the US withdrawal next Tuesday.
“I have also instructed my leaders to develop operational plans to strike ISIS assets, leadership, and facilities. We will respond with force and precision in our time, in the place of our choosing and at the moment of our choosing,” Biden said.
Health officials in Kabul were quoted as saying that 60 civilians were killed. A video clip filmed by Afghan journalists showed dozens of bodies scattered around a canal at the edge of the airport.
Witnesses said at least two explosions rocked the area.
The Islamic State group said one of its suicide bombers had targeted “interpreters and collaborators with the US military”.
US officials also blamed the group.
“For a moment I thought my eardrums had ruptured and I lost my hearing. I saw bodies and parts of the body flying through the air like a hurricane blowing into plastic bags. I saw corpses and body parts of the elderly and wounded men, women and children scattered about, trying to reach the airport,” said an Afghani, who was trying to reach the airport. The sewage spurted into the sewage channel turned into blood.”
The US deaths were the first in Afghanistan in 18 months, a fact likely to be cited by critics who accuse Biden of recklessly abandoning the hard-earned stable status quo by ordering an abrupt withdrawal.
General Frank McKenzie, commander of US Central Command, said the US would proceed with the evacuations, noting that there were still about 1,000 US citizens in Afghanistan. But several Western countries have said the mass airlift of civilians is coming to an end, likely leaving no way out for the tens of thousands of Afghans who have worked with the West during two decades of war.
The violence of the Islamic State presents a challenge to the Taliban, who have promised Afghans that they will quickly bring peace to the country they have occupied. A Taliban spokesman described the attack as the work of “circles of evil” that would be suppressed once the foreign forces left.