Crowds of people desperate to leave Afghanistan returned to Kabul’s airport Friday as evacuation flights out of the country resumed, a day after horrendous bombings just outside the airport killed over 100 people.
At least 90 Afghans died in the attack, according to the Afghan news agency Pajhwok. Including the 13 American servicemen, more than 100 people were killed.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attacks in a report on its news agency's Telegram channel, hours after suicide bombers struck two locations along the perimeter of the Hamid Karzai International Airport, near the Abbey Gate and outside a nearby hotel. A gun battle occurred after the bombings, said U.S. General Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, during a Pentagon news briefing.
A regional offshoot of Islamic State known as ISIS-Khorasan Province, or ISIS-K, has been blamed for the attacks.
U.S. President Joe Biden is vowing vengeance on those responsible.
"To those who carried out this attack, as well as anyone who wishes America harm, know this: We will not forgive," Biden said in a nationally broadcast address. "We will hunt you down and make you pay."
Biden said he had ordered commanders to develop operational plans to strike ISIS-K assets, leadership and facilities, saying, "We will respond with force and precision at our time, at the place we choose and the moment of our choosing."
It was the deadliest day for the U.S. military in Afghanistan in a decade. That also made Thursday the most somber day of Biden's seven-month-old presidency, prompting the last-minute postponement of Biden's meeting with the visiting Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. During the gloomy afternoon, thunder echoed around the White House as a rainstorm enveloped Washington.
More than 100,000 people have left Afghanistan on evacuation flights, Biden said Thursday, vowing the evacuations would continue until the August 31 deadline to withdraw all troops.
"We will get Americans out who want to get out," the president said.
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.