Samuel Case, FISM News
President Joe Biden held a press conference on Thursday afternoon, addressing the day’s deadly suicide bombings near the Kabul Airport in Afghanistan which killed 13 U.S. servicemen and 95 Afghan citizens while wounding countless more. These were the first U.S. combat casualties in Afghanistan since February 2020.
In his short address Biden mourned the loss and honored the bravery of those soldiers, while promising to “hunt down” the terrorists who perpetrated the attack.
To those who carried out this attack, as well as anyone who wishes America harm, know this: We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay. I will defend our interests and our people with every measure at my command.
He reiterated that the administration had known the pullout would be “extraordinarily dangerous” from the beginning, saying the mission was “designed” to work “under severe stress and attack.”
Following a moment of silence, Biden answered the questions of reporters he was “instructed to call on.” During questioning, Biden indicated that the rescue mission of the hundreds of Americans stranded in the country would continue, though he remains determined to stick to the self-imposed August 31 deadline relying on the Taliban’s help to bring the remaining U.S. citizens and Afghan allies home. However, he later acknowledged he can’t guarantee every Afghan ally will get out. Biden asserted it’s in the Taliban’s self-interest to help the U.S. get out on time, adding that he doesn’t trust the group.
Biden was also asked to confirm reports that “U.S. officials provided the Taliban with names of Americans and Afghan officials to evacuate.” Biden responded that “there have been occasions” when the military would alert the Taliban of individuals needing safe passage to the airport. For example, “‘This bus is coming through with X number of people on it, made up of the following group of people. We want you to let that bus or that group through.’” But the President said he knew of no definitive list, acknowledging there is a chance a list was made.
The reporter was referring to a Politico report that said “U.S. officials in Kabul gave the Taliban a list of names of American citizens, green card holders and Afghan allies to grant entry into the militant-controlled outer perimeter of the city’s airport.” A defense official described the process as putting “all those Afghans on a kill list.” Since the Taliban rose to power the group has reportedly been searching for Afghan interpreters and others who assisted the U.S. in the war.
Biden later admitted that he does maintain “responsibility for, fundamentally, all that’s happened of late.” However he quickly pivoted to blaming President Trump for “a deal with the Taliban that he would get all American forces out of Afghanistan by May 1,” claiming that because of that deal, the alternative to withdrawing from the region would be sending “a thousand of more troops back into Afghanistan.”
Watch the full address: