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ISIS attack at Kabul airport kills 13 US service members, dozens of Afgans


At least 13 US service members have been killed and 18 injured in the two suicide bombings — part of a “complex attack” outside the Kabul airport Thursday, according to officials.


ISIS-K have now claimed responsibility for the two explosions that are also believed to have killed at least 60 Afghans and wounded more than 140. Both US and Afghan officials have warned the death toll is likely to increase.


“They were heroes,” President Biden said of the slain US service members. “Heroes who’ve been engaged in a dangerous, selfless mission to save the lives of others.”


To the terrorists who carried out the attack, Biden said, “We will not forgive, we will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay.”


The commander-in-chief, speaking from the White House, said he’d ordered US forces to plan retaliatory strikes on key ISIS assets.


“We will respond with force and precision at our time at a place we choose in a moment of our choosing,” Biden said.


He confirmed that the evacuation mission from Afghanistan would continue.


“We will not be deterred by terrorists,” Biden said.


Gen. Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie, head of the US Central Command on the ground in Afghanistan, said the deadly attacks were carried out by two ISIS suicide bombers and a number of gunmen who opened fire after the bombs were set off.


The first explosion occurred when an ISIS bomber detonated their vest outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport’s Abbey Gate, which is the airfield’s main entrance where US service members were stationed.


A crowd of Afghans were standing in a canal waiting to try and get on evacuation flights when the explosion took place.

The explosion took place outside one of Kabul airport’s entrance gates.AFP via Getty ImagesThe attack comes just hours after an ISIS terror attack warning was issued.AFP via Getty ImagesPentagon officials have called the bombings a “complex attack” resulting in multiple casualties.AFP via Getty Images


The second blast occurred outside the nearby Baron Hotel where many Americans and British evacuees had been told to gather in recent days before heading to the airport.


The bombers appear to have somehow gotten past Taliban checkpoints on the outer perimeter of the airfield where people were having their documentation checked, McKenzie said, acknowledging there was “a failure somewhere.”


Asked if he trusted the Taliban or if they allowed it to happen, Gen. McKenzie said: “I don’t think there’s anything to convince me that they let it happen. As to whether or not I trust them … that’s a word I use very carefully.”


Despite the carnage and the ongoing ISIS threat, McKenzie said the evacuation mission was still ongoing and the US will keep relying on the Taliban for “protection.”


“The threat from ISIS is completely real, we expect those attacks to continue and we are doing everything we can to be prepared for those attacks,” McKenzie said.


“That includes reaching out to the Taliban who are actually providing security for the outer cordon of the airfield to make sure they know what we expect them to do to protect us,” he said


McKenzie said there was still about 1,000 Americans left in Kabul that needed to be evacuated.


“We continue to focus on the protection of our forces and the evacuees as the evacuation continues. Let me be clear, while we’re saddened by the loss of life, both US and Afghan, we’re continuing to execute the mission. Our mission is to evacuate US citizens, third-country nationals, Special Immigrant Visa holders, US embassy staff and Afghans at risk.


Despite this attack, we are continuing the mission,” McKenzie said.


“We are continuing to bring people onto the airfield. We just brought a number of buses aboard the airfield over the last couple or three hours. We’ll continue to process and flow people out. The plan is designed to operate under stress and under attack. And we will coordinate to make sure it’s safe for American citizens to come to the airfield. If it’s not, we’ll tell them to hold and work other ways to get them to the airport. We’ll continue to flow them out until the end of the month.”


Gen. McKenzie added: “ISIS will not deter us from accomplishing the mission, I can guarantee you that.”


He said the Taliban and US forces shared a “common purpose” regarding the evacuation efforts.

US soldiers at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport on Aug. 26. AKHTER GULFAM/EPA-EFE/Shuttersto


Despite the carnage and the ongoing ISIS threat, McKenzie said the evacuation mission was still ongoing and the US will keep relying on the Taliban for “protection.”


“The threat from ISIS is completely real, we expect those attacks to continue and we are doing everything we can to be prepared for those attacks,” McKenzie said.


“That includes reaching out to the Taliban who are actually providing security for the outer cordon of the airfield to make sure they know what we expect them to do to protect us,” he said


McKenzie said there was still about 1,000 Americans left in Kabul that needed to be evacuated.


“We continue to focus on the protection of our forces and the evacuees as the evacuation continues. Let me be clear, while we’re saddened by the loss of life, both US and Afghan, we’re continuing to execute the mission. Our mission is to evacuate US citizens, third-country nationals, Special Immigrant Visa holders, US embassy staff and Afghans at risk.


Despite this attack, we are continuing the mission,” McKenzie said.


“We are continuing to bring people onto the airfield. We just brought a number of buses aboard the airfield over the last couple or three hours. We’ll continue to process and flow people out. The plan is designed to operate under stress and under attack. And we will coordinate to make sure it’s safe for American citizens to come to the airfield. If it’s not, we’ll tell them to hold and work other ways to get them to the airport. We’ll continue to flow them out until the end of the month.”


Gen. McKenzie added: “ISIS will not deter us from accomplishing the mission, I can guarantee you that.”


He said the Taliban and US forces shared a “common purpose” regarding the evacuation efforts.







Credit: Read more from nypost.com


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