President Joe Biden on Thursday vowed to make terrorists “pay” for the deadly attacks that killed a dozen U.S. service members and wounded many others when ISIS militants set off multiple bombs outside of Kabul’s main airport earlier in the day.
“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,” Biden said during an evening news conference. “I will defend our interests and our people with every measure at my command.”
Biden called the fallen troops heroes — people who are “part of the bravest, most capable and the most selfless military on the face of the Earth.” The president led a moment of silence in the White House East Room for the troops he said are the “spine of America.”
“We have some sense, like many of you do, what the families of these brave heroes are feeling today,” Biden said. “You get this feeling like you’re being sucked into a black hole in the middle of your chest. There’s no way out. My heart aches for you, and I know this. We have a continuing obligation, a sacred obligation to all of you, families of those heroes.”
The president went on to say the U.S. would complete its mission to get “as many people out” as possible while meeting the tight Aug. 31 deadline. When pressed on what he would say to Afghan allies who may not get out in time, he replied: “We’re going to continue to try to get them out. It matters.”
The Thursday attacks also wounded at least 15 troops, the Pentagon said, targeting the area outside of Kabul’s airport where thousands of people have gathered amid a massive evacuation effort. Videos from the scene viewed by POLITICO showed dozens of bodies splayed outside of the airport, and the reported death toll continues to rise — at least 60 Afghans were killed and more than 140 others were wounded in the bombing, according to The Associated Press.
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