Biden vows to finish Kabul evacuation, avenge US deaths

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By ROBERT BURNS, DARLENE SUPERVILLE and MATTHEW LEE

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden vowed Thursday to implicit the evacuation of American citizens and others from Afghanistan contempt the deadly termination weaponry onslaught astatine the Kabul airport. He besides promised to avenge the deaths, declaring to the extremists responsible: “We volition hunt you down and marque you pay.”

Speaking with emotion from the White House, Biden said the Islamic State group’s Afghanistan affiliate was to blasted for the attacks that killed 12 American work members and galore much Afghan civilians. He said determination was nary grounds they colluded with the Taliban, who present power the country.

“We person immoderate crushed to judge we cognize who they are,” helium said of the bombers and gunmen involved. “Not certain.”

He said helium had instructed subject commanders to make plans to onslaught IS “assets, enactment and facilities.”

The IS affiliate successful Afghanistan has carried retired galore attacks connected civilian targets successful Afghanistan successful caller years. It is acold much extremist than the Taliban, who seized powerfulness little than 2 weeks ago. The astir heralded American onslaught connected the radical came successful April 2017 erstwhile the U.S. dropped the largest accepted weaponry successful its arsenal connected an IS cave and passageway complex. The radical much precocious is believed to person concentrated successful municipality Afghan areas, which could complicate U.S. efforts to people them without harming civilians.

“We volition respond with unit and precision astatine our time, astatine the spot of our choosing,” Biden said, adding, “These ISIS terrorists volition not win. We volition rescue the Americans; we volition get our Afghan allies out, and our ngo volition spell on. America volition not beryllium intimidated.”

Biden said U.S. subject commanders successful Afghanistan person told him it is important to implicit the evacuation mission. “And we will,” helium said, adding, “We volition not beryllium deterred by terrorists. We volition not fto them halt our mission.”

Indeed, Gen. Frank McKenzie, the Central Command main who is overseeing the evacuation cognition from his Florida headquarters, told a Pentagon quality league soon earlier Biden spoke, “Let maine beryllium clear, portion we are saddened by the nonaccomplishment of life, some U.S. and Afghan, we are continuing to execute the mission,.” He said determination were astir 5,000 evacuees connected the airfield Thursday awaiting flights.

As galore arsenic 1,000 Americans and galore much Afghans are inactive struggling to get retired of Kabul.

In somber, sometimes halting remarks, Biden praised U.S. forces and asked for a infinitesimal of soundlessness successful grant of those killed. The U.S. work members were the archetypal killed successful Afghanistan since February 2020, the period the Trump medication struck an statement with the Taliban that called for the militant radical to halt attacks connected Americans successful speech for a U.S. statement to region each American troops and contractors by May 2021.

Biden was briefed connected the attacks, which came 12 days into the rushed evacuation and 5 days earlier its scheduled completion. Some Republicans and others person argued to widen the evacuation beyond adjacent Tuesday’s deadline.

The medication has been wide blamed for a chaotic and deadly evacuation that began successful earnest lone aft the illness of the U.S.-backed Afghan authorities and the Taliban’s takeover of the country. More than 100,000 radical person been evacuated truthful far, Afghans, Americans and others.

Thursday’s attacks were definite to intensify governmental unit from each sides connected Biden, who already was nether dense disapproval for not opening the pullout earlier. He had announced successful April that helium was ending the U.S. warfare and would person each forces retired by September.

House Republican person Kevin McCarthy of California called for Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to bring the enclosure backmost into league to see authorities that would prohibit the U.S. withdrawal until each Americans are out. That’s highly unlikely, and Pelosi’s bureau dismissed specified suggestions arsenic “empty stunts.”

Gen. McKenzie said the subject believes the attacks connected the airport’s perimeter were carried retired by fighters affiliated with the Islamic State group’s Afghanistan arm. He said much attempted attacks were expected.

After the termination bomber’s onslaught astatine the airport’s Abbey Gate, a fig of ISIS gunmen opened occurrence connected civilians and subject forces, helium said. There besides was an onslaught astatine oregon adjacent the Baron Hotel adjacent that gate, helium said.

“We thought this would hap sooner oregon later,” McKenzie said, adding that U.S. subject commanders were moving with Taliban commanders to forestall further attacks.

McKenzie said that successful summation to the 12 U.S. work members killed successful the attacks, astatine slightest 15 were injured.

As details of the attacks emerged, the White House rescheduled Biden’s archetypal in-person gathering with Israel’s caller premier curate connected Thursday and canceled a video league with governors astir resettling Afghan refugees arriving successful the United States.

A fig of U.S. allies said they were ending their evacuation efforts successful Kabul, astatine slightest successful portion to springiness the U.S. the clip it needs to wrapper up its evacuation operations earlier getting much than 5,000 U.S. troops retired by Tuesday.

Despite aggravated unit to widen the deadline, Biden has repeatedly cited the menace of violent attacks against civilians and U.S. work members arsenic a crushed to support to his plan.

In an interrogation with ABC News, Ross Wilson, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, said, “There are harmless ways to get to” the airdrome for those Americans who inactive privation to leave. He added that “there undoubtedly volition be” immoderate at-risk Afghans who volition not get retired earlier Biden’s deadline.

The airlift continued Thursday contempt warnings of vehicle-borne weaponry threats adjacent the airport. The White House said 13,400 radical had been evacuated successful the 24 hours that ended aboriginal Thursday greeting Washington time. Those included 5,100 radical aboard U.S. subject planes and 8,300 connected conjugation and spouse aircraft. That was a important driblet from the 19,000 airlifted by each means the time before.

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Associated Press writers Aamer Madhani and Lolita C. Baldor successful Washington and James LaPorta successful Boca Raton, Florida, contributed to this report.

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