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Dozens Killed in Kabul Suicide Bombing Attack
KABUL – Dozens of citizens were killed during two bomb explosions in Kabul on Thursday, Aug. 26, including 12 U.S. Marines and one Navy corpsman.
One bombing took place outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport and the other at the adjacent Baron Hotel. An Islamic State affiliate claims responsibility for the attacks, which occurred less than a day after the U.S. Embassy issued a warning to US people to leave the region.
Officials have dubbed the strikes suicide bombing, and Kabul health officials have confirmed that 60 people were killed due to the attacks.
Hundreds of dead were scattered along a canal on the outskirts of the airport, according to video recorded by Afghan journalists. Witnesses reported hearing at least two explosions in the vicinity.
One of Islamic State’s suicide bombers was reported to have targeted “translators and collaborators with the American army,” according to the group. The organization was also accused by U.S. officials.
The number of American servicemen killed in a single incident in Afghanistan is thought to be the most since 30 people died when a chopper was shot down in August 2011.
The incident occurred as US soldiers hurried to finish their departure from Afghanistan, after President Joe Biden’s declaration that the US had long since achieved its initial goal of rooting out al Qaeda extremists and preventing a repetition of the September 11 attacks on the US.
Biden promised to pursue the bombers and said he had directed the Pentagon to devise a strategy to target ISIS-K, the Islamic State offshoot that claimed responsibility.
“We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay,” Biden said during televised comments from the White House.
The President also observed a minute of silence to remember those who died in the line of duty, describing them as “heroes” and “the finest the country has to offer.”
“The lives we lost today were lives given in the service of liberty, the service of security, the service of others, in the service of America,” he said.
The U.S. deaths were the first in action in Afghanistan in 18 months, a fact likely to be cited by critics who accuse Biden of recklessly abandoning a stable and hard-won status quo by ordering an abrupt pullout.
The United States and its allies have urged people to avoid the airport, citing the threat posed by Islamic State.
Following Biden’s order to pull out all soldiers by August 31, Western countries have evacuated almost 100,000 people and recognize that many would be left behind.
The airlift’s last days will mostly be utilized to evacuate the remaining troops. Some European nations, like Canada, have already declared the cessation of their airlifts.
In accordance with a pullout deal with the Taliban struck by former United States President Donald Trump, Biden ordered all soldiers out of Afghanistan by the end of the month. Biden also turned down requests from European allies for more money this week.
When asked if he was to blame for the evacuation’s outcome, President Biden responded, “I take responsibility for basically everything that’s transpired of late.”
“You know as well as I do that the last president made a deal with the Taliban,” he quickly added.
During former President Trump’s deal with the Taliban, the U.S. agreed to leave the nation by the end of May 2021, in return for U.S. forces not being targeted in the country. That agreement was mostly upheld, and Biden has stated if the United States had continued there, American forces would have been targets of terrorist assaults.
The fall of the Western-backed government in Afghanistan took U.S. officials off guard and threatens to reverse achievements, particularly in the rights of women and girls, millions of whom have been attending school and working, previously prohibited under the Taliban.
Biden justified the decision to withdraw, claiming that US soldiers could not remain in the country permanently. His detractors, however, claim that the US forces, which once numbered more than 100,000, have been reduced to only a few thousand in recent years, no longer engaged in ground combat and confined to an airbase. It was a sliver of the size of US military forces that have been stationed in countries like Korea for decades.
Suicide assaults on civilians, government targets, and ethnic and sectarian minorities have all been claimed by Islamic-State fighters, who first appeared in Afghanistan in 2014, and have since gained a reputation for cruelty.