Pentagon and White House national security officials have warned US President Joe Biden that another terrorist attack in Kabul is "likely" in the final days of the 20-year-long American occupation of Afghanistan.
On Friday, Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris met with Pentagon officials and members of the national security team after a suicide bombing outside the Kabul airport killed more than a dozen Americans and scores of Afghan civilians.
"They advised the president and vice president that another terror attack in Kabul is likely, but that they are taking maximum force protection measures at the Kabul airport," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a briefing.
"They reported that even in the face of those threats, our courageous servicewomen and men are continuing to operate a historic evacuation operation," she added. "The US military is airlifting out thousands of people every few hours."
"The next few days of this mission will be the most dangerous period to date," Psaki said.
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.
Pentagon officials had warned in the aftermath of Thursday's bombing that another attack was still a possibility.
“We still believe there are credible threats. In fact, I'd say specific, credible threats, and we want to make sure we're prepared for those," US Defense Department press secretary John Kirby told reporters on Friday.
Biden doesn't want perpetrators 'to live on earth anymore'
Meanwhile, the White House press secretary on Friday also said that President Biden does not want the perpetrators of the deadly attack to "live on the earth anymore."
She was asked on Friday to clarify Biden’s comments from Thursday, when he said, “we will hunt you down.”
“I think he made clear yesterday that he did not want them to live on the earth anymore,” Psaki said.
Biden vowed on Thursday to hunt down the terrorists responsible for the attack outside the airport.
“We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay,” Biden said, addressing those responsible for the bombings.
Biden said the US would target facilities of Daesh “at the place we choose, in a moment of our choosing.”
"The president reaffirmed with the commanders his approval of all authorities they need to conduct the operation and protect our troops, and all reported back that they have the resources they believe they need to do so effectively," Psaki said.