US President Joe Biden pledged to hunt down the perpetrators of the suicide bombings that killed 13 American troops in Kabul and said the United States will not be deterred from its mission to evacuate thousands of civilians from Afghanistan.
President Joe Biden, his voice breaking with emotion, has vowed the United States will hunt down the attackers of twin explosions at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan and said he has asked the Pentagon to develop plans to strike back at them.
Biden on Thursday spoke hours after the two blasts killed a dozen American troops and wounded more, the worst day of casualties for US forces there in a decade.
"To 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," Biden said in remarks at the White House.
"We will not be deterred by terrorists. We will not let them stop our mission. We will continue the evacuation," he said.
Watch as I deliver remarks on the terror attack at Hamid Karzai International Airport, and the U.S. service members and Afghan victims killed and wounded. https://t.co/NBv02m3Bpm— President Biden (@POTUS) August 26, 2021
Evacuation will continue
Biden said US evacuations would continue. He gave no indication of a change in next Tuesday's US pullout target.
"I have also ordered my commanders to develop operational plans to strike ISIS-K assets, leadership and facilities. We will respond with force and precision at our time, at the place we choose and the moment of our choosing," Biden said.
Biden appeared to be fighting back tears and his voice cracked with emotion as he talked about the American "heroes" who died. "It's been a tough day," he said.
The president said he had told the US military that he would grant additional force if they needed it: "Whatever they need, if they need additional force, I will grant it."
We can confirm that the explosion at the Abbey Gate was the result of a complex attack that resulted in a number of US & civilian casualties. We can also confirm at least one other explosion at or near the Baron Hotel, a short distance from Abbey Gate. We will continue to update.— John Kirby (@PentagonPresSec) August 26, 2021
No evidence of Taliban-Daesh collusion
Biden said he has seen no evidence that the Taliban colluded with Daesh terrorists in carrying out the deadly attacks in Kabul.
"There is no evidence thus far that I've been given as a consequence by any of the commanders in the field that there has been collusion between the Taliban and ISIS [Daesh] in carrying out what happened today," he said.
White House says not possible to get all Afghans out of country
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Thursday that it is not going to be possible to evacuate every Afghan who wants to get out of the county before the US military withdraws on August 31.
Psaki said there is no end date on any commitment to evacuate any American who wants to get out of Afghanistan, even after the military withdrawal.