US President Joe Biden vowed that the United States would hunt down those responsible for twin explosions at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan. He said he had asked the Pentagon to develop plans to strike back at them.
Biden spoke hours after the blasts killed at least 13 American troops and scores of civilians. It’s the worst day of casualties for US forces there in a decade.
Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K) claimed responsibility for the attack. It’s an affiliate of militants who previously battled US forces in Syria and Iraq.
“We will not forgive, we will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay,” Biden said in remarks at the White House.
He promised US evacuations would continue. “We will not be deterred by terrorists, we will not let them stop our mission. We will continue the evacuations,” he said.
85 killed in Kabul airport carnage
US forces helping to evacuate Afghans desperate to flee Taliban rule were on alert for more attacks on Friday. At least one Islamic State suicide bomber killed 85 people including 13 US soldiers outside the gates of Kabul airport.
Two blasts and gunfire rocked the area outside the airport on Thursday evening, witnesses said. Video shot by Afghan journalists showed dozens of bodies strewn around a canal on the edge of the airport.
A health official and a Taliban official said the toll of Afghans killed had risen to 72. It also includes 28 Taliban members. Although a Taliban spokesman later denied that any of their fighters guarding the airport perimeter had been killed.
The US military said 13 of its service members were killed in what it described as a complex attack.
Islamic State said one of its suicide bombers targeted “translators and collaborators with the American army”.
Meanwhile, it was not clear if suicide bombers detonated both blasts or if one was a planted bomb. Moreover, it was also not clear if ISIS gunmen were involved in the attack; or if the firing that followed the blasts was Taliban guards firing into the air to control crowds.
US forces are racing to complete their withdrawal from Afghanistan by an August 31 deadline set by President Biden. He says the US long ago achieved its original rationale for invading the country in 2001; to root out al Qaeda militants and prevent a repeat of the September 11 attacks on the US that year.
Moreover, Biden said he had ordered the Pentagon to plan how to strike ISIS-K, the Islamic State affiliate that claimed responsibility.
Meanwhile, there has been panic in Afghanistan ever since the Taliban took control of the county. In February, the Taliban announced to establish an Islamic government in Afghanistan once peace talks are over.
What do you think of this story? Let us know in the comments section below.