President Biden on Thursday delivered a stark message to those who carried out the deadly attack outside the airport in Kabul that left 13 U.S. service members dead while also pledging that the evacuation of Afghanistan will continue.
“Know this,” Biden said to the attackers. “We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay.”
Biden held a moment of silence to honor the American service members who lost their lives, calling them “heroes” and “the best the country has to offer.”
“The lives we lost today were lives given in the service of liberty, the service of security, the service of others, in the service of America,” he said from the White House.
Biden said the situation on the ground in Kabul was still evolving and that the U.S. will target the assets, leadership and facilities of ISIS-K, the Islamic State affiliate that has reportedly claimed responsibility for the terror attack.
“We will respond with force and precision, at our time, at the place we choose and at the moment of our choosing,” he said.
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Despite the attack, the withdrawal will continue, the president said.
“We will not be deterred by terrorists. We will not let them stop our mission.”
Biden said he told the military that if the remaining effort to remove Americans and Afghans from the country requires additional U.S. forces, he will grant it.
Two blasts, one outside Hamid Karzai International Airport and the second at the nearby Baron Hotel, killed 13 U.S. service members and dozens of Afghan civilians. Over 150 people were wounded, including 18 U.S. service members.
At a Pentagon press conference Thursday, Gen. Kenneth McKenzie said the attacks were carried out by two suicide bombings, followed by gunfire.
McKenzie added the evacuation has now taken 104,000 people out of Afghanistan, including nearly 5,000 Americans. He estimates about 1,000 Americans remain.
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