- President Joe Biden said terror attacks would not deter the US from completing its evacuation mission from Afghanistan.
- The president promised to rescue Americans and get Afghan allies out of the country in a Thursday speech.
- “We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay,” he said to the perpetrators of the attack.
President Joe Biden promised to continue the US evacuation from Afghanistan following a set of ISIS-K attacks near the Kabul airport that killed 12 US service members and at least 60 Afghans on Thursday.
“We will rescue the Americans. We will get our Afghan allies out. And our mission will go on,” Biden said in a sometimes defiant, sometimes somber speech on Thursday evening.
The president said he was aware of the high likelihood of terror attacks targeting the US mission since the outset, which fueled his determination to limit the duration of the evacuation with an August 31 deadline.
Biden said Thursday’s attacks would not deter the US from fulfilling its duty to remove troops from Afghanistan in the next five days.
“We will not be deterred by terrorists. We will not let them stop our mission,” he said. “We will continue the evacuation.”
Biden said ISIS-K, the Islamic State’s affiliate in Afghanistan and enemy of the Taliban, had been planning a complex set of attacks on US personnel and others for days.
—CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) August 26, 2021
In a heightened moment, the president spoke directly to the perpetrators of the deadly blasts.
“We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay,” he said. “These ISIS terrorists will not win.”
The president said he ordered US military officials “to develop operational plans to strike ISIS-K assets, leadership, and facilities.”
During his remarks, Biden struck a mournful tone at times, noting the outrage and heartbreak stemming from the loss of US service members on the ground.
“The lives we lost today were the lives given in the service of liberty, the service of security, the service of others,” he said.
He brought up his personal experiences losing his own son, Beau, a veteran who died from brain cancer in 2015.
“We have some sense like many of you do, of what these families of these brave soldiers are feeling today,” he said.
“It feels like a black hole being sucked into your chest and there’s no way out.”
Biden also addressed the Afghan families who lost loved ones, including small children, and those who were injured in the blasts.