WASHINGTON — With his voice breaking with emotion and tears forming in his eyes, President Joe Biden vowed the United States will respond “with force” to the terrorists who killed 13 U.S. service members and a number of Afghans in a terrorist attack at the Kabul Airport on Thursday.
Speaking at the White House, a somber Biden promised the United States would hunt down those responsible for the two bombings and directed the Pentagon to develop plans to strike back.
“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,” Biden said. “We will respond with force and precision at our time, at the place we chose, and at the moment of our choosing.”
Biden went on to say the evacuation efforts to get Americans and Afghan allies out of Afghanistan will continue until the August 31 deadline.
Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K) claimed responsibility for the attack.
“I have also ordered my commanders to develop operational plans to strike ISIS-K assets, leadership, and facilities. We will respond with force and precision at our time, at the place we choose and the moment of our choosing,” Biden said.
Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, said at a briefing Thursday that there is concern about other attacks but there are no plans to bring in more additional troops to the region.
Biden began his remarks by saying it was a “tough day” and appeared to be fighting back tears as he mentioned those who lost their lives, in what is the darkest day in his presidency thus far.
The President also promised to provide whatever resources the U.S. military needs.
“Whatever they need, if they need additional force, I will grant it,” he said.
Biden’s schedule was thrown out the window when he learned of the attacks early Thursday morning. The President’s national security team learned of the first explosion when they gathered in the Situation Room for a pre-scheduled meeting with Biden, according to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
White House officials told FWRD AXIS Biden was briefed by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, and commanders on the ground.
Both Democrats and Republicans have pressured Biden over the past few weeks to extend the evacuation operations past August 31 out of concern not all Americans and Afghan allies would be able to evacuate by that date.
Biden acknowledged Thursday that not everyone will be evacuated.
“I know of no conflict, as a student of history, no conflict when a war was ending one side was able to guarantee that everyone who wanted to be extracted from that country was able to get out,” he said.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.,) blamed Biden for allowing the attacks to happen, tweeting out a statement saying, the president “has neither the capacity nor the will to lead. He must resign.”
“I bear responsibility for, fundamentally, all that’s happened of late,” Biden told reporters when asked if he was responsible for the events of the past few weeks.