President Joe Biden vowed to strike back against ISIS-K and called the U.S. service members who lost their lives in the terror attack at the Kabul airport “heroes” during remarks Thursday.
The president appeared dejected but said the mission to evacuate will continue and that the administration will not be “deterred by terrorists.” He defended the decision to work with the Taliban, noting that “no one trusts them” but that the administration is “counting on their self interest.”
“The lives we lost today were lives given in the service of liberty, the service of security and the service of others and in the service of America,” Biden said. “Like their fellow brothers and sisters in arms who have died defending our vision and our values in the struggle against terrorism, of the fallen this day – they are part of a great noble company of American heroes. 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 issues a warning to the ISIS affiliate responsible for the Kabul bombings.
— Bloomberg (@business) August 26, 2021
At least 12 U.S. service members are dead and at least 15 others injured in the Thursday terror attack. Biden said these individuals “are a part of the bravest, most capable and the most selfless military on the face of the Earth,” adding that they’re “the backbone of America.”
Biden explained that he’s instructed his commanders to attack ISIS-K, which claimed responsibility for the attack.
“I bear responsibility for, fundamentally, all that’s happened,” Biden later said before bringing up former President Donald Trump’s deal with the Taliban. He defended the decision to withdraw and reiterated that the plan is designed to continue “under severe stress.”
The president explained, as Commander of the United States Central Command Gen. Kenneth McKenzie said earlier, that more attacks could occur. Still, he said, the evacuation will go on. Biden also agreed with the assessment from the military to continue the evacuation operation. (RELATED: ISIS Officially Takes Credit For Kabul Airport Attack)
With more attacks possible, Biden said he informed officials that the military should be taking “the maximum steps necessary to protect our forces on the ground in Kabul.” The president repeated prior comments that the U.S. achieved its original goals in Afghanistan and that there are “greater threats coming out of other countries a heck of a lot closer to the United States.”
The president didn’t detail how the mission will continue amid more threats, but he noted that people still need to get out of the country. Much of his comments echoed those that came out of the Pentagon press briefing earlier Thursday.