Biden vows to ‘hunt down’ US enemies after suicide bombers kill US servicemen in Kabul
Following a suicide bombing at Kabul airport that left 13 American service members dead and 18 wounded, among dozens of others killed, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett extended “condolences and deep sadness for the loss of American lives” during a meeting with US President Joe Biden at the White House on Friday.
After pledging to “hunt down” those responsible for the attack, the president was briefed by military officials on Friday on the likelihood of “another terror attack” and the “maximum force protection measures” underway at Hamid Karzai International Airport.
Military officials also updated the president and vice president “on plans to develop Isis-K targets,” according to statement from White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
“The next few days of this mission will be the most dangerous period to date,” the statement said.
Injured US service members have been transported to the US Army’s Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.
Isis-K, a sworn enemy of the Taliban, has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Ms Psaki told reporters on Friday that the president has made clear “that he does not want them to live on earth anymore.”
A number of Republican lawmakers have called on the president to resign over the ongoing crisis. GOP House leader Kevin McCarthy said there will be “day of reckoning.”
Ms Psaki dismissed calls from GOP lawmakers, adding that “the backdrop” of their calls “is the men and women of the US military deployed on the ground are bravely continuing to implement a mission to save lives on the ground.”
“Yesterday they lost 13 of their own and the president made absolutely clear that we’re going to hunt down, go after and kill the terrorists who are responsible,” she said. “Everyone should be supportive of that.”
US military officials have stressed that the attack has not stopped evacuations, which will continue until the end of the month as planned. US forces have evacuated roughly 12,500 people over a 24-hour period into early Friday morning, according to the White House. Since the end of July, the US has relocated approximately 110,600 people, the White House said on Friday.
Follow live updates as they happenened
Biden to address nation tonight at 5pm
President Joe Biden is planning to speak tonight at 5pm EST regarding today’s terrorist attack in Kabul, White House sources have told CNN.
US military says evacuations will continue despite attack
General Kenneth McKenzie Jr, head of the United States Central Command, says evacuations via the Kabul airport have not been stopped by today’s explosions.
“The plan is designed to operate under stress and under attack,” General McKenzie said. “And we will coordinate to make sure it's safe for American citizens to come to the airfield ... We’ll continue to flow them out until the end of the month.”
US general says there are other ‘extremely active’ threats to Kabul airport
As the US military reels from today’s blasts in Kabul, officials say they must also prepare for other potential attacks to come.
“We have other active threat streams, extremely active threat streams against the airfield,” General Kenneth McKenzie said at a briefing. “We want to make sure we are taking the steps to protect ourselves there. Our focus is on that.”
“Typically the pattern is multiple attacks,” he added.
Bernie Sanders issues statement on Kabul attack
Senator Bernie Sanders has released a statement mourning the US soldiers killed in the attack in Kabul, and thanking them for their service.
“Today, we mourn the loss of the members of the U.S. military killed at Kabul Airport,” the senator tweeted. “These soldiers played an extraordinary role in helping to evacuate over 80,000 people – Americans and Afghans. Their bravery and sacrifice will not be forgotten.”
Senator Josh Hawley calls on Joe Biden to resign
Mr Hawley, who voted to throw out Mr Biden’s election victory over Donald Trump and gave a one-fisted salute to MAGA supporters outside the US Capitol on 6 January, made the call on Twitter.
Israeli PM, who Biden was scheduled to meet today, issues statement on Kabul
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has offered Israel’s sympathies following the attack on US troops in Afghanistan.
“On behalf of the people of Israel, I share our deep sadness over the loss of American lives in Kabul,” Mr Bennett wrote. “Israel stands with the United States in these difficult times, just as America has always stood with us. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of the United States.”
Mr Bennett had been scheduled to meet with President Biden today, but their meeting was delayed to Friday after explosions rocked the airport in Kabul.
Vice president Kamala Harris cancels California rally
Ms Harris had planned on campaigning in the Bay Area on Friday with Governor Gavin Newsom, who is facing a 14 September recall election, but has now cancelled the event.
Nancy Pelosi warns Democrats not to travel to Afghanistan
“It should be clear that any Member presence presents a danger and an opportunity cost of resources, regardless of whatever value that Members consider they may add by such trips,” wrote Ms Pelosi in a letter to colleagues.
It comes days after lawmaker Seth Moulton and Peter Meijer secretly travelled to Kabul.
Biden late for Kabul bombing address to nation
The president was due to speak from the White House at 5pm ET and is expected to do so soon.
Nancy Pelosi condemns Kabul airport bombing
The House Speaker issued a statement on the violence that left 12 US service members dead and 15 injured, as well as killing 60 Afghans and injuring more than 140.
“The United States House of Representatives strongly condemns the heinous terrorist attack outside Kabul airport. We mourn the loss of every innocent life taken, and we join every American in heartbreak over the deaths of the service members killed,” said Ms Pelosi.
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