US proceeding with Kabul pullout despite deadly ISIS attacks

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By ROBERT BURNS, DARLENE SUPERVILLE and MATTHEW LEE

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is pressing up with the evacuation of Americans and others from Afghanistan aft attacks that killed astatine slightest 12 U.S. servicemembers and dashed hopes of ending the 20-year U.S. warfare without further bloodshed. Calling disconnected the evacuation instantly would mean leaving down hundreds of Americans inactive trying to get retired of the Taliban-controlled country.

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

The U.S. wide overseeing the evacuation, Gen. Frank McKenzie, said aft the attacks, “If we tin find who is associated with this, we volition spell aft them.” He said it would beryllium a mistake for the United States to telephone an aboriginal extremity to the evacuation, contempt the risks.

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

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.”

At the Pentagon, 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.

The attacks won’t thrust the U.S. retired earlier than scheduled, helium said.

“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,” helium said. He said determination were astir 5,000 evacuees connected the airfield Thursday awaiting flights. He said the Taliban person been “useful to enactment with” and are not suspected successful the attacks.

“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 and canceled a video league with governors astir Afghan refugees arriving successful the United States.

Biden had pledged to get retired of Afghanistan each American who wished to leave. As of Wednesday, the State Department said astir 4,500 American citizens had been flown out, with astir 1,500 yet to go.

Biden connected Thursday was to big Israeli person Naftali Bennett, who is connected his archetypal sojourn to the United States since taking office. The gathering was rescheduled for Friday. Biden besides had planned to conscionable virtually with a bipartisan radical of governors who person said they privation to assistance resettle Afghan refugees fleeing their present Taliban-ruled country. A regular briefing by authorities wellness and aesculapian experts besides was postponed.

The deadly developments successful the Afghan superior of Kabul forced the White House to teardrop up Biden’s schedule. He was monitoring the airdrome situation, which was prompted by the upcoming Tuesday deadline helium acceptable for removing American citizens and troops from Afghanistan.

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 Tuesday 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.

The explosions detonated arsenic the U.S. worked to get remaining Americans retired of the country. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday that arsenic galore arsenic 1,500 Americans whitethorn beryllium awaiting evacuation.

Asked during an interrogation with ABC News astir reports the evacuation could extremity connected Friday, Ross Wilson, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, declined to comment. He spoke soon earlier the deadly attacks.

Wilson 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 Lolita C. Baldor successful Washington and James LaPorta successful Boca Raton, Florida, contributed to this report.

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