Morning Wire: Americans Killed In Afghanistan Suicide Bomb Attacks, Biden Responds

It’s Friday, August 27th, and this is your Morning Wire. Listen to the full podcast here.

1) Americans Killed In Afghanistan Suicide Bomb Attacks

The Topline: Several Americans were killed in multiple suicide attacks in Afghanistan on Thursday. 

Quote Of The Day: 

“It’s a hard day today. As you know, two suicide bombers assessed to have been ISIS fighters detonated in the vicinity of the Abbey Gate…and in the vicinity of Baron Hotel… The attack on the Abbey Gate was followed by a number of ISIS gunmen who opened fire…”

— U.S. Marine Corps General Kenneth F. McKenzie

The Attacks

At the moment, reports say the first bomb was detonated outside of Kabul airport, where people attempting to flee the country have been gathered in the thousands. The attack itself took place outside Abbey Gate, one of the main entryways into the airport.

The second attack took place outside Baron hotel, which is located close to the airport where Americans had reportedly been gathered throughout the week.

Right now, the death toll stands at more than 60 people, with over 140 people wounded. 

MARCUS YAM / LOS ANGELES TIMES/Contributor via Getty Images

The Victims

Initial reports said most of the victims were Afghani citizens, including women and children, but the Pentagon has confirmed at least thirteen U.S. service members, including ten U.S. Marines, have been killed. These are the first U.S. military combat casualties in the country since February of 2020. 

Warnings Of An Attack

There were several reports that a terrorist attack was imminent, and the U.S. Marines posted at Abbey Gate were warned the day before that their position was one of the likely targets, but in a feat of unbelievable bravery, they continued to hold their positions, helping process those who were desperate to flee the country. 

Experts have been warning of the potential for an attack throughout the withdrawal, but on Thursday morning, they began warning specifically of a looming attack. 

The acting U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan said early Thursday an attack was “imminent” and the British Armed Forces minister warned of a “very credible” threat at the airport. 

Both countries urged people to leave the area surrounding the airport, but there were still large crowds gathered when the bombs went off.

What’s Next?

The evacuations are going to continue, if they can, but some countries — such as Canada — have already been forced to wrap up their evacuation efforts, with some left behind. There are also reports the Kabul airport gates are being welded shut.

People will be looking to President Joe Biden to explain the U.S. response to these terrorist attacks, since he promised the U.S. would respond with “devastating force” if there was an attack during the evacuation.

Remember: Earlier this month, Biden said, “We’ve made clear to the Taliban that any attack on our forces or disruption of our operations at the airport will be met by swift and forceful

Al Drago/Bloomberg/Contributor via Getty Images

2) Biden Responds 

The Topline: President Biden spoke to the nation on Thursday about the terror attacks in Afghanistan. 

Key Point: Biden said despite the attack at the Kabul airport and the killing of U.S. soldiers, the U.S. is going to continue with its mission of evacuation. 

In line with Democratic Party messaging on the matter, Biden framed the evacuation mission as “historic,” celebrating the numbers evacuated in recent weeks.

Biden said, “They were part of an airlift and evacuation effort unlike any seen in history with more than 100,000 American citizens, American partners, Afghans who helped us, and others taken to safety in the last 11 days.”

When questioned on whether his goal to continue on the course of action was realistic given recent events, President Biden made the argument he didn’t need to necessarily trust the Taliban, since he believed their own “self interest” aligns with the interests of the U.S.

Key Point: Biden added he is going to go after the people who called for, and coordinated, Thursday’s terror attacks, but did not specify what this would look like or when it would take place. 

Biden also said he would support additional force if requested, but gave no further details on what this force would involve. He also noted all his military leaders “subscribed to the mission as designed.”

Biden Questioned

Fox News’s Peter Doocy asked Biden if he bears any responsibility for the way things have unfolded in the last few weeks. The president responded by saying he did bear responsibility, but also placed blame at the feet of his predecessor.

Finally: Biden argued the objective in Afghanistan had been achieved, and there are greater threats elsewhere, even though Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups have reportedly returned to Afghanistan.

Pramote Polyamate via Getty Images

Other Stories We’re Tracking

Illinois Vaccine Requirements 

The Democratic Governor of Illinois announced new vaccine requirements in the state on Thursday. He said effective September 5th, the vaccine will be required for “P-12 teachers and staff,” “higher education personnel,” students in higher education, and healthcare workers in some settings. Those who don’t get vaccinated will need to get tested for COVID at least once per week. 

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