President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden met with wounded service members on Thursday at Walter Reed National Medical Center, where some of the Americans hurt in last week’s suicide bombing in Afghanistan are being treated.
Thirteen U.S. service members were killed in the Aug. 26 attack by ISIS-K outside the Kabul airport, where the U.S. had been evacuating its citizens and Afghan allies after the capital fell to the Taliban. The U.S. launched its first retaliatory drone strike the next day.
The bodies of the service members were flown to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. On Sunday, Biden attended what is known as a dignified transfer ceremony at the base and also met with relatives of the dead.
A Navy corpsman, an Army staff sergeant, and 11 Marines as well as dozens of Afghans were killed in the suicide bombing at the airport’s Abbey Gate. An additional 18 U.S. service members were wounded.
The president said last week had “some sense” of the loss the families felt, pointing out that his son, Beau Biden, had served in the Army in Iraq before dying of brain cancer.
”You get this feeling like you’re being sucked into a black hole in the middle of your chest; there’s no way out,” Biden said. “My heart aches for you.”
Biden is deeply familiar with Walter Reed, having spent time there as a patient in the 1980s after suffering a brain aneurysm. He also kept watch over his son there during his battle with cancer.
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