Washington, Aug 27 (AP) US President Joe Biden has pledged to complete the evacuation of American citizens and others from Afghanistan despite a deadly suicide attack near Kabul airport. Biden vowed to avenge the death of 13 American soldiers killed in the attack and told the terrorists responsible for it, “We will kill you and you will pay the price.” Biden emotionally told the White House that Islamic An Afghan organization affiliated with the state group has been blamed for Thursday’s attacks in which US civilians were attacked.
Biden told the White House in an emotional state that an Afghan organization affiliated with the Islamic State group was to be blamed for Thursday’s attacks that killed American civilians as well as several Afghan civilians. He said there was no evidence that he colluded with the Taliban, who now control the country.
Biden called for a moment of silence to honor the soldiers who lost their lives in the attack and ordered the American flag to be flown at half-mast across the country.
Regarding the attackers and gunmen involved, he said, “We have some reason to believe that we know who they are … not sure.” Biden said he called military commanders “assets of IS”. , leadership and units” to plan the attack.
The head of US Central Command, General Frank McKenzie, said more attacks were expected.
An IS affiliate in Afghanistan has carried out several attacks on civilian targets in the country in recent years. It is far more radical than the Taliban, which seized power in the country less than two weeks ago.
The deadliest US attack on the group was in April 2017 when the US dropped the largest conventional bomb in its arsenal on an IS cave and tunnel complex. The group is believed to have recently focused in urban areas, which could complicate America’s efforts to target civilians without harming them.
Biden said, “We will respond with strength and accuracy at the time we choose, at the location of our choice.” He said, “These ISIS terrorists will not win. We will save the Americans, we will drive out our Afghan allies and our campaign will continue. America will not be intimidated.
Biden said US military commanders in Afghanistan had told him it was important to complete the evacuation operation. “And we will, we will not be afraid of terrorists,” he said.
In fact, General McKenzie, who is overseeing the evacuation operation from headquarters in Florida, said at a press conference at the Pentagon shortly before Biden spoke, “I want to make it clear that we are going through the loss of lives of both American and Afghan civilians.” Saddened by it, but we are continuing to carry out the campaign.
He said about 5,000 people were waiting for the flight at the airfield on Thursday.
At least 1,000 Americans and many other Afghans are still struggling to get out of Kabul.
McKenzie said that 12 American soldiers were killed and 15 were wounded. Later, his spokesman, Captain William Urban, said the death toll had risen to 13 and 18 were injured. Urban said the injured were being evacuated from Afghanistan in Air Force C-17 transport aircraft equipped with surgical units.
The Marine Corps said 10 Marines were among those killed. The Central Command did not identify the dead. It was the deadliest day for US forces in Afghanistan since August 2011, when a helicopter was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade by insurgents, killing 30 US soldiers and eight Afghans.
Biden praised the US military and asked for a moment of silence in honor. Asked later about further course of action, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden may head to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware where the bodies of soldiers who lost their lives will be brought.
After Thursday’s attack, political pressure on Biden was sure to mount from all sides.
Despite pressure to extend the evacuation deadline from Afghanistan, Biden has stuck to his plan, citing the threat of terrorist attacks against civilians and US troops.
“There are safer ways to get to the airport for Americans who still want to leave,” Ross Wilson, the US ambassador to Afghanistan, said in an interview with ABC News. There will certainly be some Afghans at risk who won’t be able to get out before Biden’s deadline.
AP Amit Anoop