‘We will hunt you down and make you pay’ — Biden warns Kabul airport attackers
Washington, Aug. 27 (PTI): US President Joe Biden has vowed to “hunt” down the terrorists and make them “pay” for the twin blasts at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan that killed 13 American soldiers and injured 18 others, and ordered his commanders to develop plans to strike back at them.
Two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of Afghans flocking to the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul airport on Thursday, killing more than 100 people, including 13 US troops. The Islamic State’s Afghanistan affiliate, dubbed Islamic State Khorasan or ISIS-K, claimed responsibility for the attack.
“To those who carried out this attack, as well as anyone who wishes America harm notice, 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,” Biden said in his remarks at the White House on Thursday.
An emotional president bowed his head for a moment of silence for US service members killed in the attacks at the Kabul airport.
“These American service members who gave their lives – it’s an overused word, but it’s totally appropriate here – were heroes,” said Biden, who appeared to be fighting back tears. He ordered US flags to half-staff across the country.
Biden said the ISIS-K was behind the gruesome attack at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul and at a hotel nearby on Thursday.
“As you all know, the terrorist attacks that we’ve been talking about and worried about within the intelligence community, was an undertaking attack by a group known as ISIS-K,” Biden said.
“They took the lives of American service members standing guard at the airport and wounded several others seriously. They also wounded, a number of civilians, and civilians were killed as well,” he said.
Biden said he has ordered his 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 in a moment of our choosing…these ISIS terrorists will not win, he said.
He asserted that the US is determined to continue with its mission to evacuate American nationals from Kabul and complete the mission by August 31.
August 31 is the cut-off date set by both the US and the Taliban for America’s pullout from the war-torn country.
“We can and we must complete this mission and we will. That’s what I’ve ordered them to do. We will not be deterred by terrorists. We will not let them stop our mission. We will continue the evacuation, Biden said.
“We will complete our mission, and we will continue after our troops have withdrawn, to find means by which we can find any American who wishes to get out of Afghanistan. We will find them, and we will get them out, he added.
Biden also warned that it is in the interest of the Taliban, which is now the de facto ruler of Afghanistan, that the ISIS-K does not “metastasize” beyond what it is.
He said there is no evidence so far to suggest a collusion between the Taliban and the ISIS in carrying out the airport attack.
“No one trusts them (the Taliban). We’re just counting on their self-interest to continue to generate their activities. And it’s in their self-interest that we leave when we said and that we get as many people out as we can, Biden said.
Responding to a question, he said the Taliban are “not good guys”.
“They (Taliban) are not good guys…but they have a keen interest…they very much like to figure out how to keep the airport open and have the capacity to do it. They are trying to figure out whether or not they can maintain what is a portion of an economy that has become not robust but fundamentally different than it had been, Biden said.
Responding to a question, he said the reason why the Taliban did not attack the US troops in the last one year was because of the deal that they had with the previous Trump administration.
The former president (Donald Trump) made a deal with the Taliban that he would get all American forces out of Afghanistan by May 1…In return, he was given a commitment that the Taliban would continue to attack others but would not attack any American forces, he said.