President Joe Biden vowed on Thursday to complete the evacuation of American citizens and others from Afghanistan despite the day’s deadly suicide bomb attack at Kabul airport.
He promised to avenge the deaths of 13 US service members killed, telling those responsible: “We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay. Speaking with emotion from the White House, Biden said the Islamic State (IS) group’s Afghanistan affiliate was to blame for the attacks — that according to Friday’s latest estimates also killed at least 72 Afghans. He said there was no evidence they colluded with the Taliban, who now control the country.
“We have some reason to believe we know who they are,” the president said, adding that he had instructed military commanders to develop plans to strike IS “assets, leadership and facilities. We will respond with force and precision at our time, at the place of our choosing. General Frank McKenzie, the US Central Command chief, said more attempted attacks were expected. He said there were about 5,000 evacuees on the airfield Thursday awaiting flights.
A number of US allies said they were ending their evacuation efforts in Kabul, at least in part to give the US the time it needs to wrap up its evacuation operations before getting 5,000 of its troops out by Tuesday. Biden said US military commanders in Afghanistan had told him it is important to complete the evacuation mission. “And we will,” he said. “We will not be deterred by terrorists.
As many as 1,000 Americans and many more Afghans are still struggling to get out of Kabul. The President said he had told the US military that he would agree to more support if they needed it: “Whatever they need, if they need additional force, I will grant it.
Biden defended his handling of his most serious foreign policy crisis, saying ultimately it is his responsibility, while assigning some blame to his predecessor, Republican Donald Trump, for the 2020 agreement Trump negotiated with the Taliban. He said he did not trust the Taliban but believed it was in the group’s interest to let the evacuations continue.
In Other News: President Hakainde Hichilema will not move into the State House
President Hakainde Hichilema will not shift from Community House in New Kasama to State House because he is comfortable staying in his private residence.UPND secretary general Batuke Imenda said in an interview that President Hichilema will continue living at his private residence but that he will be working from State House.
“Just like he said before he was sworn in. Learn more