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'We will hunt you down and make you pay': Joe Biden warns Kabul airport attackers

Joe Biden 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. The Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing, and Biden reaffirmed that when he blamed the terror outfit's Afghanistan affiliate, ISIS-K for staging the attacks.

August 27, 2021 / 08:34 AM IST
 Joe Biden. Source: AP

Joe Biden. Source: AP

President Joe Biden, his voice breaking with emotion, vowed on Thursday the United States would 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 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. The Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing, and Biden reaffirmed that when he blamed the terror outfit's Afghanistan affiliate, ISIS-K for staging the attacks.

"We will not forgive, we will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay," he said in remarks at the White House.

Biden said US evacuations would continue. He gave no indication of a change in next Tuesday's US pullout target. As many as 1,000 Americans and many more Afghans are still struggling to get out of Kabul.

"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.

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“We have some reason to believe we know who they are,” he said of the bombers and gunmen involved. “Not certain.”

Biden was briefed on the attacks, which also killed dozens of Afghans and came 12 days into the rushed evacuation and five days before its scheduled completion. Some Republicans argued to extend the evacuation beyond next Tuesday’s deadline.

The US general overseeing the evacuation, General Frank McKenzie, said after the attacks, “If we can find who is associated with this, we will go after them.” He said it would be a mistake for the United States to call an early end to the evacuation, despite the risks.

The administration has been widely blamed for a chaotic and deadly evacuation that began in earnest only after the collapse of the US-backed Afghan government and the Taliban’s takeover of the country. More than 100,000 people have been evacuated so far.

Thursday’s attacks were sure to intensify political pressure from all sides on Biden, who already was under heavy criticism for not beginning the pullout earlier. He had announced in April that he was ending the US war and would have all forces out by September.
PTI
first published: Aug 27, 2021 08:36 am
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