President Joe Biden pledged retaliation after a pair of explosions near Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on Thursday killed 12 U.S. service members and dozens others. The Islamic State-Khorasan Province, a self-proclaimed offshoot of the IS which has denied affiliation with the Afghan-based militant group, has claimed responsibility for the attack. Pentagon press secretary John Kirby confirmed the service members’ deaths, and said another 15 Americans were injured. He added that Afghan civilians also “fell victim to this heinous attack.”
Biden spoke in the East Room of the White House hours after the attack at the Abbey Gate and a hotel near the airport where the United States and other countries are working to evacuate foreign nationals and Afghan civilians. The United States, Britain and Australia had warned citizens to stay away from the airport due to “credible threats” warning of an impending terrorist attack.
Biden said he has ordered commanders to develop operational plans to strike the IS-K’s assets leadership and facilities, adding that the United States has “some reason to believe” they know the leaders behind the attack and that the United States will find means to “get them wherever they are” without a large military operation.” Biden then warned: “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 also said he would grant any additional forces needed to respond to the attack and protect Americans seeking to evacuated, but that military officials remained committed to carrying out the mission as planned. Said the President: “We must complete this mission and we will. And that’s what I’ve ordered them to do. We will not be deterred by terrorists, we will not let them stop our mission, we will continue the evacuations.”
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