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One of the Deadliest Days In the Afghanistan War

Marines assist with security at an Evacuation Control Checkpoint during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 20. The Pentagon confirmed Thursday that there had been an explosion outside the gates. (Staff Sgt. Victor Mancilla/Marine Corps) (U.S. Central Command Public Affa)

Last updated on August 27, 2021

Everything after the separator is the opinion of this article’s author.

To disrupt the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, a suicide bomber attacked Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, murdering 13 US service members and at least 90 Afghans. This attack made today one of the deadliest days in the two-decades-long US occupation of Afghanistan. US officials have attributed the attack to the Islamic State’s regional affiliate, who has claimed responsibility for the attack through its Amaq news agency. According to the Pentagon, after the bomb attack, there was another assault by gunmen also from the Islamic State’s regional affiliate.

Recently, US officials reported that the 13 murdered Americans were 10 Marines, two soilders, and one sailor. The American troops were part of the 5,800 soldiers President Biden deployed in Afghanistan to aid the evacuation. These deaths were the first U.S. military combat fatalities in Afghanistan since February 2020, which was 18 months ago. 

Marine Corps Gen. Frank McKenzie, commander of U.S. Central Command, informed reporters that the United States will continue to evacuate all remaining Americans and allied Afghans. As of now, there are still around 1,000 Americans and many more allied Afghans in Afghanistan as the US self-imposed deadline draws near. Finally, Mckenzie said defiantly, “If we can find who is associated with this, we will go after them.”

According to top Biden officials, the president was briefed by his national security team in the White House’s Situation Room. President Biden will address the nation at 2 PM PST, which will be followed by a briefing from Press Secretary Jen Psaki. 

The world just witnessed a tragic and despicable attack by terrorists on American soldiers and innocent Afghan lives. 

Today, we should mourn the lives of the American and Afghanistan lives taken today and extend our deepest condolences to their families as they are undoubtedly experiencing significant grief for the loss of their beloved. 

Today, we should also expect a forceful and unequivocal retaliation by American armed forces against those who dared to pursue such a cowardly attack on our American soldiers. What happened today is inexcusable, and when the president addresses the nation, he should outline at least preliminary measures that are being implemented to prevent a similar attack. 

Three additional things Biden should note in his national address. 

First, he should confidently remark on the US’s ability to withdraw all American soldiers beyond the August 31rst deadline. If all American armed forces are to be evacuated before the deadline, is the United States going to resort to bribery or extortion to withdrawal the remaining Americans and allied Afghans? With five days remaining until the deadline, will the Taliban continue to uphold its promise of not attacking evacuating Americans and Afghans? Also, will the president finally admit that the self-imposed deadline was a mistake or will he continue to play it off as deliberate and strategic? 

Secondly, is this attack evident of Taliban motivations and the effect a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan has on security? What does this attack mean for US-Afghan relations going forward? Does this change the deadline in any manner, and will the president deploy even more troops to ensure greater security? Can the remaining Americans and allied Afghans expect to leave Afghanistan before the deadline?

Third, will the president willingly submit himself to investigations as to whether or not he ignored the counsel of his national security team in executing the withdrawal? 

Hopefully, all of this and more is discussed in Biden’s address to the nation as the people in Afghanistan endure one of the most tragic days in modern history. 

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