KABUL, Afghanistan, Aug. 26, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Thirteen U.S. service members have been killed and 15 others 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 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.
Despite the bloodshed the McKenzie said the U.S. mission would continue.
“Let me be clear, while we’re saddened by the loss of life, both U.S. and Afghan, we’re continuing to execute the mission, McKenzies said during a live press conference. “Our mission is to evacuate U.S. citizens, third country nationals, special immigrant visa holders, US embassy staff and Afghans at risk.
“Since August the 14th we’ve evacuated more than 104,000 civilians… 66,000 by the United States, and over 37,000 by our allies and partners, and that includes bringing out about 5,000 Americans,” McKenzie said.
It’s estimated there are between 1,000 to 1,500 Americans inside the country.
In the meantime, McKenzie said the U.S. will continue to focus on its withdrawal efforts to get U.S. citizens out say they will continue their mission to evacuate all Afghanis who qualify, as well as foreign nationals trapped in country.
“We are working very hard right now to determine attribution, to determine who is associated with this cowardly attack, and we’re prepared to take action against them; 24/7 we are looking for them.”
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 no 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.