US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has blasted President Joe Biden after a dozen American troops and scores of Afghan civilians were killed in attacks around the Kabul airport on Thursday.
“Americans’ hearts are breaking for our servicemembers and diplomats. They are doing heroic work to rescue American citizens and Afghan partners in the predictably chaotic wake of the President’s decision to withdraw,” McConnell said in a statement following the twin bombings claimed by the Daesh terrorist group.
“Terrible things happen when terrorists are allowed to operate freely. This murderous attack offers the clearest possible reminder that terrorists will not stop fighting the United States just because our politicians grow tired of fighting them,” McConnell added.
Two explosions rattled the area outside the airport in the Afghan capital on Thursday amid the precarious security situation following the Taliban’s takeover of the country.
Following the attacks, Daesh's Amaq News Agency said on its Telegram channel that the terror group was behind the explosions.
The attacks killed 12 US Marines and one Navy medic, US officials confirmed, noting 18 other US service members were injured.
US Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, commander of US Central Command, said during a press briefing that Daesh terrorists also opened fire on civilians and troops in Kabul.
McKenzie said the “working assumption” is the suicide bomber was searched by American troops at the Kabul airport gate when he detonated the device.
He added that there are ongoing threats from Daesh against US forces in Afghanistan.
“Our sympathies are also with the families of the innocent Afghans whom the terrorists killed today, and all the vulnerable Afghans who are risking everything in desperate efforts to escape the Taliban’s impending rule,” McConnell said. “Our partners in a long fight against terror deserve better than the dark fate that will await them after the last military aircraft has departed."
McConnell also said he remains "concerned that terrorists worldwide will be emboldened by our retreat, by this attack, and by the establishment” of a radical Islamic state in Afghanistan by the Taliban.
A senior Afghan health official said 90 Afghan civilians were dead and over 100 others wounded.
“We need to redouble our global efforts to confront these barbarian enemies who want to kill Americans and attack our homeland,” McConnell said.
Meanwhile, nearly two dozen US House and Senate Republicans on Thursday called for Biden to resign or be impeached, as tensions between him and Republicans in the US Congress have escalated dramatically.
Among the 20 House Republicans who have called for Biden to resign or be impeached includes Tom Rice from South Carolina, who had in January also voted to impeach former President Donald Trump.