Additional terror attacks against the airport in Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul are “highly likely,” President Joe Biden said, in the wake of a bombing Thursday that left 13 U.S. service members dead.
According to the Washington Examiner, Biden said Kabul’s airport will likely be the target of additional attacks as the U.S. continues its efforts to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by an Aug. 31 deadline.
“The situation on the ground”
Biden’s latest comments on the subject came in a statement released by the White House on Saturday.
“The situation on the ground continues to be extremely dangerous, and the threat of terrorist attacks on the airport remains high,” the president said of Kabul. “Our commanders informed me that an attack is highly likely in the next 24-36 hours.”
Biden went on to say that he had “directed [military leaders] to take every possible measure to prioritize force protection, and ensured that they have all the authorities, resources, and plans to protect our men and women on the ground.”
The 13 U.S. military members killed in last Thursday’s attack included 11 Marines, one U.S. Army soldier, and a member of the U.S. Navy, NPR reports. Another 18 service members were injured, according to the Examiner.
“The 13 service members that we lost were heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice in service of our highest American ideals and while saving the lives of others,” Biden said in his Saturday statement. “Their bravery and selflessness has enabled more than 117,000 people at risk to reach safety thus far.”
“This strike was not the last”
The troops were on the ground in Kabul to help evacuate American citizens and Afghan allies, like translators, who helped U.S. forces during their decades-long stint in Afghanistan.
Biden said Saturday that evacuation efforts would continue in the wake of the bombing. According to Fox News, the State Department has said some 350 Americans are still looking to leave Afghanistan, which is now under the control of the Taliban.
“Despite the treacherous situation in Kabul, we are continuing to evacuate civilians. Yesterday, we brought out another 6,800 people, including hundreds of Americans,” Biden said in his statement over the weekend. “And today, we discussed the ongoing preparations to help people continue to leave Afghanistan after our military departs.”
Biden also ordered an airstrike last week against ISIS-K, an offshoot of the Islamic State that has claimed responsibility for the attack on Kabul’s airport. In his statement, the president promised more would be on the way.
“I said we would go after the group responsible for the attack on our troops and innocent civilians in Kabul, and we have,” Biden claimed. “This strike was not the last. We will continue to hunt down any person involved in that heinous attack and make them pay,” the president added. It’s a shame he even allowed it to get this far in the first place.