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President Biden delivers remarks Thursday on the terror attack at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Afghanistan that killed U.S. service members and Afghan civilians.
Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images
Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images
12 U.S. Service Members And Dozens Of Afghans Were Killed In The Kabul Airport Blasts
The Biden administration and the U.S. military have been criticized for relying on the Taliban — which had fought western coalition troops for years — to provide security outside the Kabul airport.
«We’re just counting on their self interest to continue to generate their activities,» he said. «And it’s in their self interest that we leave when we said and that we get as many people out as we can.»
He added: «There is no evidence thus far that I’ve been given by our commanders in the field that there has been collusion between the Taliban and ISIS in carrying out what happened today.»
When asked whether he bears responsibility for the unfolding events in Afghanistan, Biden replied: «I bear responsibility for, fundamentally, all that’s happened of late.»
«But here’s the deal,» he immediately added: «You know, as well as I do, that the former president made a deal with the Taliban.»
Biden was referring to a deal struck between former President Donald Trump and the Taliban under which the U.S. would withdraw from the country in May of 2021 in exchange for U.S. troops not being targeted.
Two blasts, one outside of Hamid Karzai International Airport and the second at the nearby Baron Hotel, wounded more than 150 people.
At a Pentagon press conference, Gen. Kenneth McKenzie said 15 U.S. troops are among the injured. An Afghan official told the Associated Press at least 60 Afghans were killed and another 143 were wounded in the attack outside Kabul airport.
He said the attacks were carried out by two suicide bombings, followed by gunfire. A U.S. official told The Associated Press the attack is «definitely believed» to have been carried out by the Islamic State group. While McKenzie didn’t blame ISIS-K, he did say «the threat from ISIS-K is very real.»
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McKenzie added the evacuation has now taken 104,000 people out of Afghanistan, including nearly 5,000 Americans. He estimates about 1,000 Americans remain. Aug. 31 — this coming Tuesday — is the administration’s planned withdrawal deadline.
The attack marks the first U.S. deaths in Afghanistan since February 2020, before the U.S. and the Taliban signed a deal in which the Taliban agreed to not attack American troops if the U.S. withdrew its forces.
The Taliban have condemned the attack outside the airport, claiming the area of the explosion is controlled by the U.S.
Biden has faced criticism from members of both political parties for the way in which his administration withdrew U.S. forces from Afghanistan.
But Biden has defended his administration’s actions.
«The idea that somehow, there’s a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don’t know how that happens,» Biden told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos.