President Joe Biden warned on Saturday that, within 36 hours, the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group could attempt another attack like the one that killed 13 U.S. service members at the Kabul airport on Thursday.
“The situation on the ground continues to be extremely dangerous, and the threat of terrorist attacks on the airport remains high,” Biden said. “Our commanders informed me that an attack is highly likely in the next 24 to 36 hours. I directed them to take every possible measure to prioritize force protection, and ensured that they have all the authorities, resources and plans to protect our men and women on the ground. They assured me that they did, and that they could take these measures while completing the mission and safely retrograding our personnel.”
Biden said efforts to evacuate civilians are still ongoing despite the threat of attack.
“Despite the treacherous situation in Kabul, we are continuing to evacuate civilians,” he said. “Yesterday, we brought out another 6,800 people, including hundreds of Americans. And today, we discussed the ongoing preparations to help people continue to leave Afghanistan after our military departs.”
The Afghan branch of ISIS, known as ISIS-Khorasan or ISIS-K, claimed responsibility for the Kabul airport attack. The terrorist group even bragged about being able to sneak within five meters of U.S. troops before their suicide bomber detonated his explosives.
Biden said, “The 13 service members that we lost were heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice in service of our highest American ideals and while saving the lives of others. Their bravery and selflessness has enabled more than 117,000 people at risk to reach safety thus far. May God protect our troops and all those standing watch in these dangerous days.”
Afghanistan Health Minister has said 170 total people were killed and 200 were injured, in addition to the 13 U.S. troops killed and 18 U.S. troops injured.
Biden said he also discussed the drone strike that killed the ISIS planner on Friday.
“We discussed the strike that U.S. forces took last night against the terrorist group ISIS-K in Afghanistan. I said we would go after the group responsible for the attack on our troops and innocent civilians in Kabul, and we have,” Biden said. “This strike was not the last. We will continue to hunt down any person involved in that heinous attack and make them pay. Whenever anyone seeks to harm the United States or attack our troops, we will respond. That will never be in doubt. I thanked General McKenzie for his leadership of that mission, and for his commitment to the safety of our troops in Afghanistan.”