A United States military official confirmed to ABC News, late Thursday, that a 13th U.S. service member has died following a shocking pair of terror attacks in Kabul.
“A U.S. official confirmed that a 13th U.S. service member has died as a result of injuries received in the attack at the Kabul airport,” the outlet noted. At least a dozen more American service members were seriously injured, including 10 U.S. Marines and one U.S. Navy hospital corpsman. Several service members are believed to be in critical condition.
“The U.S. fatalities were the first in Afghanistan since February 2020, when former President Donald Trump and the Taliban signed an agreement to withdraw U.S. troops from the country,” The Week reported. “The 13 troops killed Thursday made the attack the deadliest since August 2011, when militants shot down a Chinook helicopter, killing 31 Americans, seven Afghans and a military dog,” according to The Wall Street Journal.
The suicide bombings, which rocked Kabul late Thursday night local time, also left at least 60 Afghans dead and more than 120 wounded according to reports. The Taliban is said to be telling health care workers not to release full casualty counts, so the precise number of Afghans dead and wounded could be much higher.
One bombing occurred at a final checkpoint for evacuees before entering Hamid Karzai International Airport, where U.S. service members were screening potential individuals for some of the last rescue flights out of Afghanistan before the U.S. military officially withdraws on August 31st. The second bombing occurred just outside the Baron Hotel, which was serving as a secure location for Americans pulled from Kabul.
Other explosions were heard throughout the day, but officials said those were coalition forces destroying military equipment as part of the evacuation process.
“The total number of injuries remains unclear, though early reports indicate over a dozen dead and dozens injured,” The Daily Wire reported earlier on Thursday. “The attacks took place hours after multiple NATO countries suspended evacuation operations citing the possibility of a terror attack. Thousands of people seeking extraction have crowded outside the perimeter of the airport in recent weeks. Taliban checkpoints have blocked most from getting through.”
The U.S. has said that there is a danger of further attacks and that there are “hundreds” of ISIS-K terrorists in the vicinity of HKIA. Questions also remain about the Taliban’s role in providing security to the evacuation efforts.
In a speech Thursday evening, President Joe Biden committed to hunting down ISIS in Afghanistan, though the U.S. military, the president said, would be sticking to the prescribed withdrawal timeline.
“They are part of the bravest, most capable, the best, selfless military on the face of the earth, and they are part of simply what I call the backbone of America,” Biden said. “They are the spine of America — the best the country has to offer.”
“We will not forgive, we will not forget,” he added. “We will hunt you down and make you pay.”
“I’ve also told my commanders to attack ISIS-K assets. And we will respond with precision, at our time, at a place that we choose, and the moment of our choosing,” Biden said. “Here’s what you need to know. These ISIS terrorists will not win.”
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