President Joe Biden addressed the Kabul airport attack in Afghanistan which resulted in thirteen U.S. service members dying on Thursday. In an emotional statement, the President told those responsible that “We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay.”
Gen. Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie, the head of the US Central Command, announced earlier today that the Pentagon will be investigating the perpetrators of today’s tragic attack:
“We are working very hard right now to determine attribution, to determine who is associated with this cowardly attack and we’re prepared to take action against them — 24/7 we are looking for them,” said Mckenzie.
Although the Pentagon has not yet concluded their investigation, Biden said in his address that they will be focusing on ISIS-K, the terrorist organization that claimed the attack as their own.
“We will respond with force and precision, at our time, at the place we choose and at the moment of our choosing,” said the President.
Biden also gave a stark statement on the Taliban’s responsibility for securing the area surrounding the Kabul airport:
“We are counting on them to act in their own self-interest, and it’s in their interest that we leave when we said we would. There is no evidence thus far from our commanders in the field that there has been collusion between Taliban and ISIS.”
The Kabul airport attack has left 13 U.S. service members and 60 Afghans dead
Thirteen US service members and at least sixty Afghans were killed and 140 others were injured today in the attacks outside of the Kabul airport in Afghanistan. Ten of the service members killed were U.S. Marines.
There were also reports of gunfire at several airport gates.
CNN has reported that two suicide bombers were the source of the explosions at the “Abbey” gate and the Baron Hotel.
The Baron Hotel, according to Afghanistan expert Peter Bergen of CNN, has been one of the locations where the British and Americans have been assembling to obtain information on evacuations.
There have been at least 140 people wounded in the attacks, with the fatalities occurring among the Afghans who had been pressed against the gates of the airport and the US service members who had been stationed there.
Tensions had ratcheted up yet again on Wednesday night after US, British and Australian officials warned their citizens to stay away from the airport.
Earlier, reports had stated that there were still a total of 1,000 Americans who still need to be evacuated from the country who cannot get to the airport.
Explosion in Kabul comes after ISIS threat
The New York Times stated that Australian officials described that there was “an ongoing and very high threat of terrorist attack” in the country just prior to the explosion in Kabul. The terrorist organization ISIS-K has since claimed responsibility for the attack.
On Tuesday, the Taliban had warned the US not to encourage Afghans to leave the country, instituting checkpoints all along the perimeter of Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport.
In effect, these checkpoints have made it almost impossible for Afghans and Americans alike to reach the relative safety of the airport, where they at least had a chance to make it onto a flight.