(Update 1: rewrite adds information and edits throughout)
Washington, Aug 26 (EFE).- The United States’ president has vowed revenge against the perpetrators of twin bombings outside Kabul airport on Thursday, which killed dozens of people, including 13 US service members.
At least 60 people – most of them Afghans – were killed and at least another 140 were wounded, including 18 US soldiers, when two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked outside the airport where Afghans desperate to be evacuated from the country had amassed.
A local faction of the Islamic State terror group known as ISIS-K (Khorasan, in reference to the region) claimed responsibility.
Visibly emotional as he delivered remarks to the nation, President Joe Biden called the US service members “heroes who have been engaged in a dangerous, selfless mission to save the lives of others.”
He vowed revenge on the perpetrators, saying: “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,” he said.
Biden also revealed that he had asked commanders to “develop operational plans to strike ISIS-K assets, leadership and facilities.”
“We will respond with force and precision at our time, at the place that we choose and at the moment of our choosing,” he said.
“Here’s what you need to know: These ISIS terrorists will not win. We will rescue the Americans in there. We will get our Afghan allies out, and our mission will go on. America will not be intimidated.”
General Frank McKenzie, head of the US military’s Central Command, told a news briefing that more attacks are expected.
“We believe it is their desire to continue these attacks and we expect those attacks to continue – and we’re doing everything we can to be prepared.”
The Centcom chief revealed that the US armed forces have been sharing information with the Taliban and that they intend to continue “coordinating.”
Washington and the Taliban share a “common purpose,” which is to complete the US mission in Afghanistan by Aug. 31, he added.
“They have a practical reason for wanting us to get out of here by the 31st of August. They want to reclaim the airfield. We want to get out by that day, too, if it’s possible to do so. So we share a common purpose,” McKenzie said.
Controlled explosions – heard at Kabul airport after the terror attacks – were carried out by US military who were destroying their equipment, according to the Taliban.
A huge evacuation operation currently under way at the airport, with US forces working to extract around 1,000 Americans remaining in the country who want to leave Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban takeover last week.
In order to avoid more attacks, the president said that he was willing to send military reinforcements to Afghanistan, but that his commanders informed him that they prefer to continue with plans, which are to remove as many people as possible – both Americans and Afghans who aided coalition forces during the past 20 years, along with their families – from Afghanistan before Aug. 31.
The 13 soldiers, including 10 Marines, who died are the first US troops killed in combat in Afghanistan since February 2020, and it was the largest one-day combat death toll for the US military since 2011.
Middle Eastern governments, including Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Bahrain and Egypt, have condemned the attacks along with Western nations. EFE