SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Aug. 26, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Utah’s politicians are reacting after 13 U.S. service members were killed and 15 others were injured in attacks outside the Hamad Karzai International Airport in Kabul.
Dozens of Afghan civilians, as well as Taliban fighters, are also among the casualties in twin suicide bombings at an airport gate, and at the adjacent Baron Hotel, according to Gen. Fred McKenzie, leader of U.S. Central Command.
McKenzie confirmed the bombings were followed by gunfire attributed to ISIS K gunmen who shot both civilians and military personnel.
A senior health official in Kabul told BBC News at least 60 people were dead and 140 injured in the early morning attacks.
Utah Gov. Spencer Cox released the following statement: “Abby and I are deeply saddened to hear of the U.S. service members and civilians killed and injured in Afghanistan today. We owe an immense debt of gratitude to the women and men in uniform who serve us so well and are helping Afghan refugees flee from tyranny. Our prayers are with all our U.S. service members and their loved ones.”
Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson also released a statement: “I grieve for the U.S. service members killed and injured in Afghanistan today. I’m so thankful for the women and men in uniform who are defending our county and helping Afghan refugees. I’m praying for all our U.S. service members and their families.”
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, tweeted: “Horrific terrorist attacks outside Kabul airport. My heart breaks for the U.S. servicemembers wounded in the explosion and the innocent Afghan lives lost. I am inspired by the strength and compassion of our troops and pray for their safety.
“They represented the very best and finest of America, laying down their lives to aid the most vulnerable in perilous circumstances. This loss of life tears at our collective soul. God bless our fallen and wounded Marines, their families and all of our servicemembers in harm’s way.”
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, tweeted Thursday morning: “God bless our troops, especially those in harms way in Afghanistan. This botched withdrawal and its effects are the worst kind of tragedy, one that was avoidable. Nevertheless our men and women in uniform do their duty. They are the incarnation of the words of America the Beautiful, ‘Who more than self their country loved, and mercy more than life!'”
Lee then followed up with a tweet Thursday afternoon: “My prayers are with those killed and wounded in action today, their families, and their teammates still on the ground. Their sacrifice will never be forgotten. It is our duty to protect those Americans still in Afghanistan and those who have helped us in this fight against evil.”
Rep. Burgess Owens tweeted: “There are no words to describe what an utterly devastating day this is for our country. I am heartsick for the families of our fallen heroes and continue to pray for them and for our troops, Americans, and allies who remain in harm’s way.”
Rep. Blake Moore tweeted: “As the situation in Afghanistan becomes more and more heartbreaking, my team and I send prayers to our citizens, troops, and Afghan allies impacted by today’s attacks. Please know our team remains steadfast in supporting however we can.”
Rep. Chris Stewart tweeted: “My prayers are with our troops, our citizens, and the Afghans who were killed or injured in today’s apparent terrorist attack. And my heart breaks for those who remain stranded behind enemy lines in this time of violence and chaos.”
He said in a follow-up tweet: “There is no excuse for the incompetence displayed by the Biden Administration throughout this disastrous withdrawal.
“We need to secure the airport, maintain a perimeter, and safely evacuate all Americans and our allies — and we need to do so by any means necessary.”
President Joe Biden addressed the country Thursday afternoon and vowed that the U.S. would not only complete its mission but would avenge the attacks on U.S. forces.
“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.
“I will defend our interest in our people with every measure at my command,” Biden said.
Gephardt Daily will update the story as more information is available.