Commander of U.S. Central Command Gen. Frank McKenzie announced Thursday night local time that 12 U.S. service members were killed and 15 were wounded in attacks led by two suicide bombers and gunmen outside the Kabul International Airport and a nearby hotel earlier in the day.
On Wednesday, the U.S. embassy at Kabul airport warned American citizens to stay away from the airport because of a terror threat at several airport gates. Fast forward one day, and those fears have come to fruition.
“We expect these attacks to continue,” McKenzie said, adding that Taliban commanders have been asked to take additional security measures to prevent another suicide bombing on the airport’s perimeter. He said he sees no indication that the Taliban allowed Thursday’s attacks to happen.
Defense Secretary LLoyd Austin suggested the evacuation will go on and expressed his “deepest condolences to the loved ones and teammates of all those killed and wounded in Kabul today.”
“Terrorists took their lives at the very moment these troops were trying to save the lives of others,” he said. “We mourn their loss. We will treat their wounds. And we will support their families in what will most assuredly be devastating grief. But we will not be dissuaded from the task at hand.”
“To do anything less — especially now — would dishonor the purpose and sacrifice these men and women have rendered our country and the people of Afghanistan,” the statement also said.