Afghanistan: President Biden tells attackers ‘we will hunt you down’
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Joe Biden has pledged to hunt down ISIS members who were involved in the two suicide bomb attacks near Kabul airport on Thursday evening. The US President vowed to make those involved “pay” for the attack which killed 12 US troops; 11 US Marines and one Navy personnel. It marked the first U.S. military casualties in Afghanistan since February 2020 and represented the deadliest incident for American troops in the country in a decade.
Speaking from the White House, Mr Biden said: “To those who carried out this attack, as well as anyone who wishes America harm, know this: We will not forgive, we will not forget.
“We will hunt you down and make you pay.”
He went on to say US evacuations would continue. He gave no indication of a change in next Tuesday’s U.S. pullout target.
“I have also ordered my commanders to develop operational plans to strike ISIS-K assets, leadership and facilities. We will respond with force and precision at our time, at the place we choose and the moment of our choosing,” Biden said.
Joe Biden has vowed to hunt down the ISIS members who were involved in the Kabul terror attack (Image: SKY)
The US President vowed to make those involved “pay” for the attack (Image: GETTY)
Kabul health officials were quoted as saying 60 civilians were killed. Video shot by Afghan journalists showed dozens of bodies strewn around a canal on the edge of the airport.
At least two blasts rocked the area, witnesses said.
Islamic State said one of its suicide bombers targeted “translators and collaborators with the American army”.
US officials also blamed the group.
Injured people loaded into ambulance van near Kabul Airport
It was believed to be the most US troops killed in Afghanistan in a single incident since 30 U.S. personnel died when a helicopter was shot down in August 2011.
“We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay,” U.S. President Joe Biden said of the perpetrators during televised comments from the White House.
“We will not be deterred by terrorists … We will continue the mission,” Biden said.
Corpses lay in the canal by the airport fence, video from the scene showed, some being fished out and laid in heaps while wailing civilians searched for loved ones.
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Afghanistan mapped (Image: EXPRESS)
“For a moment I thought my eardrums were blasted and I lost my sense of hearing. I saw bodies and body parts flying in the air like a tornado blowing plastic bags. I saw bodies, body parts elders and injured men, women and children scattered,” said one Afghan who had been trying to reach the airport. “That little water flowing in the sewage canal had turned into blood.”
The US deaths were the first in action in Afghanistan in 18 months, a fact likely to be cited by critics who accuse Biden of recklessly abandoning a stable and hard-won status quo by ordering an abrupt pullout.
General Frank McKenzie, head of US.Central Command, said the United States would press on with evacuations, noting that there were still around 1,000 U.S. citizens in Afghanistan. But several Western countries said the mass airlift of civilians was coming to an end, likely to leave no way out for tens of thousands of Afghans who worked for the West through two decades of war.
Violence by Islamic State is a challenge for the Taliban, who have promised Afghans they will bring peace to the country they swiftly conquered. A Taliban spokesman described the attack as the work of “evil circles” who would be suppressed once foreign troops leave.