We will hunt you down, Biden warns Kabul attackers
US President Joe Biden pledged to hunt down the perpetrators of the suicide bombings that killed 12 American troops in Kabul and said the United States will not be deterred from its mission to evacuate thousands of civilians from Afghanistan.
“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 said.
In a solemn address from the White House, he praised the slain US servicemen as ‘heroes’ and said the evacuation mission from Kabul will continue until the planned US withdrawal date of August 31.
“We will not be deterred by terrorists. We will not let them stop our mission. We will continue the evacuation,” Biden said.
He reaffirmed the August 31 deadline for all US troops to leave Afghanistan and said the US forces would fly out as many people as possible before that date.
There remains an “opportunity for the next several days, between now and the 31st, to be able to get them out,” he said.
“Knowing the threat, knowing that we may very well have another attack, the military has concluded that that’s what we should do. I think they are right.”
Biden also said he has seen no evidence that the Taliban colluded with Islamic State militants in carrying out the deadly attacks in Kabul.
“There is no evidence thus far that I’ve been given as a consequence by any of the commanders in the field that there has been collusion between the Taliban and ISIS in carrying out what happened today,” he said.
Twin suicide bombs ripped through crowds outside Kabul airport on Thursday, killing at least 85 people including 13 US troops and deepening panic in the final days of an already frenzied evacuation effort from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.
The bombings, claimed by the Islamic State group, left scenes of carnage outside the airport where thousands of Afghans desperate to flee their country had massed.
They had swarmed around the airport despite a flurry of foreign government warnings -– made just hours before — that a major terror attack was imminent.
President Joe Biden, under enormous pressure over his administration’s handling of the Afghan crisis, said the airlift would not be derailed and vowed to punish those responsible.
More than 100,000 people have been flown out of the country since the Taliban swept into power on August 15, with Afghans desperate to escape the feared hardline rule of the Taliban.
Major attacks of the past
The two-decade-long war in Afghanistan has so far killed 1,909 US troops. The US suffered its heaviest losses in the war on August 6, 2011, when Taliban fighters opened fire on a Chinook transport (helicopter) at night in the southwestern province of Wardak, Kabul.
The crash killed 30 Americans, including 22 Navy SEALs.
Eight Afghans and a US Army dog were also killed in the attack, according to the French news agency AFP.
Earlier, June 28, 2005, was also marked by a day of major damage when a helicopter crashed in the mountains of Afghanistan’s eastern province of Kunar, killing three Navy SEALs.
Other major casualties include a July 2008 firefight between hundreds of Taliban fighters and U.S. troops in the Wanat area of Nuristan Province, in which nine U.S. soldiers were killed.
Fifteen months later, in October 2009, eight Americans were killed in a similar battle with hundreds of Taliban fighters in Nuristan Province.
There were also incidents during the war when US troops were attacked by their “allies” in Afghanistan.
On April 27, 2011, eight members of the US Air Force and an American citizen were shot dead by an Afghan pilot at Kabul Airport.
On December 30, 2009, a ‘triple agent’ who was believed by US intelligence to be with them arrested seven CIA officers and contractors, along with two others, at Camp Chapman in eastern Afghanistan.
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