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Kabul bombing attack is deadliest day for US troops in 10 years

U.S. Marines assist with security at an Evacuation Control Checkpoint during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 20, 2021. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Victor Mancilla)
August 27, 2021

The suicide bombing attack at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan represents the single deadliest day for U.S. troops in just over a decade.

13 U.S. service members were killed in the Kabul airport attack, for which ISIS has claimed responsibility. Another 18 U.S. service members were injured as suicide bombers detonated explosives in the middle of crowds of people outside the airport gates.

Nearly 10 years ago on August 5, 2011, a Chinook helicopter was shot down while carrying 30 U.S. troops, eight Afghans and a military working dog. All those aboard the helicopter, call-signed “Extortion 17,” were killed in the attack. The incident was the deadliest single-incident loss of life in all of Operation Enduring Freedom – Afghanistan.

On Thursday, following the suicide bombing attacks at the Kabul airport, Fox News host Bret Baier pointed out that the attack was a record for deaths since 2011. “According to DOD data— today is THE deadliest (hostile) day for US troops since an August 5, 2011 helicopter attack — making this day THE deadliest attack in more than a decade,” Baier tweeted.

In addition to the U.S. troops killed and wounded in Thursday’s attack, the Associated Press reported dozens more Afghans were also killed or wounded. Two officials told the Associated Press 169 Afghans died, but they still don’t have a final count and it will take time to add up the total.

During a Pentagon press briefing on Thursday, Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., commander of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), said he believes one of the suicide bombers detonated their explosives while being screened by U.S. service members at a gate outside the Kabul airport.

CBS News tweeted, “Gen. McKenzie tells CBS News’ David Martin his ‘working assumption’ is that Kabul airport suicide bomber detonated while being checked by U.S. service members at a gate, but this is not confirmed. McKenzie says the U.S. is focused on preventing other ‘active threats’ to the airfield.”

Following the attack, ISIS bragged that one of the suicide bombers was able to sneak within five meters of U.S. troops at the Kabul airport before he detonated his bomb.

On Thursday, President Joe Biden vowed retaliation against the perpetrators of the Kabul airport attack.

“To those who carried out this attack, as well as anyone who wishes America harm, know this: We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay,” Biden said. “I will defend our interests and our people with every measure at my command.”