“We will defend our interests and our people with every measure of my command,” the president said.
“We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and you will pay,” President Joe Biden said during an impromptu address from the East Room on the terrorist attack in Kabul that killed 13 American service men on Thursday.
His tone was solemn as he stated, “We will defend our interests and our people with every measure of my command.”
The address offered the strongest words yet from President Biden on Afghanistan since declaring a mandate to get all Americans out of Afghanistan by Aug. 31.
“We will not be detoured by terrorists,” President Biden said, reaffirming his position. As for a response involving force, Biden said, “We will respond at the appropriate time at our choosing, these ISIS terrorists will not win.”
In the midst of this deadly moment in Afghanistan the President said, “we will get Americans and allies out.”
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about the situation in Kabul, Afghanistan from the East Room of the White House on August 26, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
President Biden is calling those military man who lost their lives “heroes” and the “bravest, most capable and part of a selfless mission.”
Attacks in Kabul come as the United States continues to determine how many American citizens are left in the country and in need of evacuation. With this latest incident in Afghanistan, the president explained it feels like you are “being sucked into a black hole with no way out.”
Philip J. “P.J.” Crowley, former Obama Administration Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, exclusively explained to theGrio the next likely course of action.
“The first challenge is to tend to the casualties and re-secure the airport. The second challenge is to carry out the remainder of the evacuation,” Crowley said. “Then the third challenge is to determine who did this and apply significant military force against them, presumably ISIS-K. Most likely this will involve air power, while insisting that the Taliban respond on the ground. Obviously very complicated.”
Military personnel in conversation with theGrio also gave their takes on what’s next in the Middle East now that American blood has been shed amid evacuations.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about the situation in Afghanistan in the East Room of the White House on August 26, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Sam Chisolm thinks “President Biden has to respond with strength.”
Chisholm’s expertise comes from one tour of duty in Afghanistan from 2013 to 2014, where he worked closely with the Taliban trying to re-engage them in the average Afghanistan community. That effort was called Afghanistan Pakistan Hands Program, or “Apak Hands,” in which he worked with Afghan local political leaders.
The goal of this program was to convert Taliban leaders into productive community members in Afghanistan.
Chilsolm reflects on the current situation in Afghanistan stating, “We have gone 360 degrees. We are right back where we started.”
Maryland Congressman Anthony Brown, who is a 30-year Army veteran, said in a written statement:
“The United States military must control the situation on the ground around Hamid Karzai International Airport to protect the ongoing evacuation, the lives of our servicemembers and Afghan civilians. We must use every resource available, diplomatic and military, to get U.S. citizens and our Afghan partners out of the country safely, sparing no expense to protect and support our brave servicemembers as they complete this critical mission.”
In this image provided by the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Air Force loadmasters and pilots assigned to the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, load people being evacuated from Afghanistan onto a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021. (Master Sgt. Donald R. Allen/U.S. Air Force via AP)
Former President Donald Trump issued a written statement on the deaths, conveying “Melania and I send our deepest condolences to the families of our brilliant and brave Service Members whose duty to the U.S.A. meant so much to them.”
The brunt of this crisis is falling on the Biden-Harris administration, but attention should be paid to the role the former president played in the initial negotiations with the Taliban.
DNC Chair Jaime Harrison released a statement as well, denouncing the attacks as “cowardly” acts.
“My thoughts and prayers are also with the innocent people who were killed and injured as a result of today’s attacks,” Harrison said. “Today, and every day, I am thankful for the bravery of our service members who put their lives on the line to protect our country.”
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