December 3, 2021

Biden Afghanistan speech: President vows to avenge US military deaths from Kabul airport attack in emotional address | Watch

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is vowing to full the evacuation of Americans and others from Afghanistan after the lethal suicide bombing on the Kabul airport. He promised to avenge the deaths of 13 U.S. service members killed in the attack, declaring to the extremists accountable: “We will hunt you down and make you pay.”

Talking with emotion from the White Home, Biden mentioned the Islamic State group’s Afghanistan affiliate was to blame for the Thursday assaults that killed the Individuals and plenty of extra Afghan civilians. He mentioned there was no proof they colluded with the Taliban, who now management the nation.

Biden requested for a second of silence to honor the service members, bowing his head, and ordered U.S. flags to half-staff throughout the nation.

As for the bombers and gunmen concerned, he mentioned, “We have some reason to believe we know who they are. Not certain.” He mentioned he had instructed military commanders to develop plans to strike IS “assets, leadership and facilities.”

Gen. Frank McKenzie, the U.S. Central Command chief who’s overseeing the airlift, mentioned extra tried assaults have been anticipated.

The U.S.-led airlift continued whilst commanders and officers have been recovering from Thursday’s devastation. The White Home mentioned Friday morning that 8,500 evacuees had been flown out of Kabul aboard U.S. military plane in the earlier 24 hours, in addition to about 4,000 folks on coalition flights. That’s about the identical mixed complete because the day earlier than the assaults.

The coalition’s evacuation flights are scaling again, and the U.S. is scheduled to end its evacuation operation by Tuesday. As many as 1,000 Individuals and plenty of extra Afghans are nonetheless struggling to get out of Kabul.

The IS affiliate in Afghanistan has carried out many assaults on civilian targets in the nation in latest years. It’s much more radical than the Taliban, who seized energy lower than two weeks in the past. Probably the most heralded American attack on the group got here in April 2017 when the U.S. dropped the most important standard bomb in its arsenal on an IS cave and tunnel complicated. The group extra just lately is believed to have concentrated in city areas, which may complicate U.S. efforts to goal them with out harming civilians.

“We will respond with force and precision at our time, at the place of our choosing,” Biden mentioned. “These ISIS terrorists will not win. We will rescue the Americans; we will get our Afghan allies out, and our mission will go on. America will not be intimidated.”

Biden mentioned U.S. military commanders in Afghanistan had advised him it is vital to full the evacuation mission. “And we will,” he mentioned. “We will not be deterred by terrorists.”

Certainly, McKenzie, advised a Pentagon information convention shortly earlier than Biden spoke, “Let me be clear, while we are saddened by the loss of life, both U.S. and Afghan, we are continuing to execute the mission.”

McKenzie mentioned 12 U.S. service members had been killed and 15 have been wounded. Later, his spokesman, Capt. William City, mentioned the toll had risen to 13 useless and 18 wounded. City mentioned the wounded have been being evacuated from Afghanistan aboard Air Power C-17 transport planes geared up with surgical models.

The Marine Corps mentioned 10 Marines have been amongst these killed. Central Command didn’t establish the useless by service. It was the deadliest day for U.S. forces in Afghanistan since August 2011, when a helicopter was shot down by an rebel armed with a rocket-propelled grenade, killing 30 American troops and eight Afghans.

In somber, generally halting remarks, Biden praised U.S. forces and requested for the second of silence. Requested later about additional actions, press secretary Jen Psaki mentioned that private calls to households would look forward to notification of subsequent of kin and that Biden would possibly journey to Dover Air Power Base in Delaware when the stays of the fallen service members are returned.

They have been the primary U.S. service members killed in Afghanistan since February 2020, the month the Trump administration struck an settlement with the Taliban that known as for the militant group to halt assaults on Individuals in change for a U.S. settlement to take away all American troops and contractors by Might 2021. Biden introduced in April that he would have all forces out by September.

Some Republicans and others are arguing to lengthen the evacuation past Tuesday’s deadline.

The administration has been extensively blamed for a chaotic and lethal evacuation that started in earnest solely after the collapse of the U.S.-backed Afghan authorities and the Taliban’s takeover of the nation. Greater than 100,000 folks have been evacuated up to now, Afghans, Individuals and others.

Thursday’s attack was certain to intensify political stress from all sides on Biden, who already was below heavy criticism for not starting the pullout earlier. He had introduced in April that he was ending the U.S. conflict and would have all forces out by September.

Home Republican chief Kevin McCarthy of California known as for Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to deliver the chamber again into session to think about laws that may prohibit the U.S. withdrawal till all Individuals are out. Pelosi’s workplace dismissed such options as “empty stunts.”

After the suicide bomber’s attack on the airport’s Abbey Gate, a lot of ISIS gunmen opened fireplace on civilians and military forces, he mentioned. There additionally was an attack at or close to the Baron Resort close to that gate, McKenzie mentioned.

“We thought this would happen sooner or later,” he mentioned, including that U.S. military commanders have been working with Taliban commanders to forestall additional assaults.

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Related Press writers Aamer Madhani, Lolita C. Baldor and Ellen Knickmeyer in Washington and James LaPorta in Boca Raton, Florida, contributed to this report.