President Biden Delivers Remarks on the Terror Attack on Hamid Karzai International Airport, and the U.S. Service Members and Afghan Victims Killed and Wounded
President Joe Biden is giving an address to the nation after two suicide bombings at Kabul airport left 12 US service members dead and 15 wounded.
“Tough day,” the president began.
“I’ve been engaged all day in constant contact” with military advisers, Biden said.
“They were heroes,” Biden said of US service members who died in the terrorist attack. “Heroes who’ve been engaged in a dangerous, selfless mission to save the lives of others.”
The intelligence community has assessed that Isis-K was behind the bombing in Kabul.
To those who carried out the attack, Biden said, “We will not forgive, we will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay.”
Biden said today’s attacks demonstrated why he wanted to limit the duration of the mission in Afghanistan.
The mission was “extraordinary and dangerous”, he said.
But “we will not be deterred by terrorists,” he said. “We will continue our evacuation.”
The US will “continue to execute this mission with courage and honor to save lives and get Americans our partners, our Afghan allies, out of Afghanistan.”
The president then held a moment of silence for those who died in the attack.
In response to the attack, Biden said he has asked commanders to strike back.
“I’ve also ordered my commanders to develop operational plans to strike Isis key assets, leadership, and facilities,” he said. “We will respond with force and precision at our time at a place we choose in a moment of our choosing”
But the president did not provide many details on what military presence the US would have in Afghanistan following the withdrawal.
“I’ve instructed the military whatever they need – if they need additional force, I will grant it,” he said, but noted that US commanders said they have what they need for now.
On the dependence on the Taliban to help secure the perimeter of the Kabul airport. Biden said, “It’s not a matter of trust. It’s a matter of mutual self-interest.”
“We’re just counting on their self-interest to continue to generate their activities. And it’s in their self-interest that we leave when we said and that we get as many people out as we can,” he said. “They’re not good guys, the Taliban. I’m not suggesting that at all.”
Biden said that although millions of Afghans would like to leave and come to the US, he can’t get them all out.
“I know of no conflict — as a student of history — no conflict where, when a war is ended, one side was able to guarantee that everyone they wanted to be extracted in that country would get out,” he said.
Asked how much responsibility he was willing to take for the way the withdrawal has unfolded, Biden said – he’ll bear some.
“I bear responsibility for fundamentally all that’s happened of late,” he said. “But here’s the deal… you know as well as I do that the former president made a deal with the Taliban.”
“Ladies and gentlemen, it was time to leave a 20-year war,” said Biden, as he ended his remarks.