Washington, DC – In an emotional address to the nation, President Biden said that America will not be deterred by terrorists and will continue in its mission to evacuate US citizens and Afghan allies. To those responsible for the suicide bomb attack, Biden said, “We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay.”
Biden has ordered the military to develop operational plans to strike ISIS-K assets, leadership, and facilities, adding, “We will respond with force and precision at our time, at the place we choose, and the moment of our choosing.”
Addressing a Pentagon press briefing, CENTCOM commander, Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. spoke of the US service members who were killed and injured in the suicide bomb attack. “It’s a hard day,” said McKenzie, adding that the threat from ISIS is very real, and that they expected the attacks to continue. “If we can find who’s associated with this, we will go after them.” He praised the heroism exhibited by the US Marines, soldiers and sailors as they screened people coming onto the airfield. “ISIS will not deter us from accomplishing this mission, I can assure you of that.”
In a statement, U.S. Representative Mike Rogers (R-AL), Lead Republican of the House Armed Services Committee, said, “I am praying for the families and loved ones of the brave and selfless U.S. service members who lost their lives and were injured in today’s terrorist attack at Hamid Karzai International Airport. The selflessness of the U.S. service members working to evacuate U.S. citizens and Afghan allies cannot be understated – our troops embody the very best of what it means to be an American.” Dismissing the August 31 deadline, Rogers said that the US “doesn’t take orders from terrorists – President Biden needs to do whatever it takes to get U.S. citizens out of Afghanistan.”
Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel issued this statement on suicide bomb attack on Americans and civilians in Afghanistan: “The news coming out of Kabul is heartbreaking and confirms what we have known for weeks – there are very real and disastrous consequences to the way this withdrawal has been conducted. I join all Americans in praying for our brave servicemen and women at the Kabul airport, our fellow citizens and allies still in Afghanistan, and all those impacted by these terrorist attacks.”
Anger at Pakistan
On August 19 – Afghanistan’s national day – LA Times photographer Marcus Yam reported around 200 Afghans carrying the national flag marching toward Pashtunistan Square in Kabul, chanting, ‘Death to Pakistan’, ‘God bless Afghanistan’, ‘Long live the National Flag of Afghanistan’, before attempting to hoist the flag at the square.
One day before the Taliban entered Kabul, Afghan Americans staged a protest in front of Pakistan’s embassy in Washington, DC. Afghan American Shakella Mujaddidi said, “Here in the United States, every single act of terrorism has a Pakistani name on it.” Afghan American Olomi added, “Ever since Pakistan was created, in that region there has been nothing but violence. Whether it is between Pakistan and India in Kashmir, or in the terrorist camps they have created in Pakistan and the borders of Afghanistan. It needs to stop. Enough is enough.”
Speaking at an event organized by the Hindu Policy Research and Advocacy Collective, Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH) commented, “We all know that Pakistan, particularly its intelligence services, played a key role fostering the Taliban, and allowing them to eventually take over. It’s just disgusting to watch Pakistani officials celebrate the victory of this group that will bring untold brutality to the Afghan people.”
In a comment to India America Today, Congressman Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) – a combat veteran and former Navy Seal – didn’t mince any words about Pakistan’s role in the current situation and its impact on the region. “Joe Biden’s botched withdrawal has serious global consequences for our allies. We’ve abandoned vast amounts of advanced weaponry not just to the Taliban – but to their sponsor, Pakistan. It emboldens and can serve to arm terrorists worldwide, including in Kashmir.”
There are reports and pictures in the media about the Director General of ISI, Faiz Hameed, meeting with Taliban leader Mullah Baradar in Kandahar prior to Baradar’s departure for Kabul. The global terrorist hub of Pakistan continues to remain on the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) grey list, and there have been reports of arms, ammunition, and military equipment moving from Afghanistan across the border into Pakistan.