The following may be a transcript of President Biden’s remarks on Thursday about an attack at the Kabul, Afghanistan, airport that killed many people, including a minimum of 12 U.S. service members. It’s been a troublesome day. tonight in Kabul, as you all know, terrorists attacked — that we’ve been talking about, and worried about, that the Intelligence Community has assessed — has undertaken an attack by a gaggle referred to as ISIS-K. Took the lives of yank service members standing guard at the airport, and wounded several others seriously. They also wounded a variety of civilians, and civilians were killed also.
I’ve been engaged all day, in constant contact with the military commanders here in Washington and therefore the Pentagon also as in Afghanistan and Doha. And my commanders here in Washington and within the field are on this with great detail, and you’ve had an opportunity to talk to some thus far . The situation on the bottom remains evolving, and I’m constantly being updated. These American service members who gave their lives — it’s an overused word but it’s totally appropriate here — were heroes, heroes who are engaged during a dangerous, selfless mission to save lots of the lives of others.
They are a part of an airlift and evacuation effort unlike any seen in history, with quite 100,000 Americans, American partners, Afghans who helped us et al. taken to safety within the last 11 days. Just within the last 12 hours, approximately another 7,000 have gotten out. They are a neighborhood of the bravest, most capable, and therefore the most selfless military on the face of the world, and that they are a neighborhood of simply what I call the backbone of America. they’re the spine of America. the simplest the country has got to offer.
Jill and I, our hearts ache, like I’m sure all of you are doing also, for all those Afghan families who lost loved ones, including young children, who are wounded during this vicious attack, and we’re outraged also as heartbroken. Being the daddy of a military major who served for a year in Iraq, and before that was in Kosovo as a U.S. attorney for the higher part of six months within the middle of a war when he came home after a year in Iraq, he was diagnosed like many, many coming home with an aggressive and lethal cancer of the brain.
We lost. we’ve some sense, like many of you are doing, what the families of those brave heroes are feeling today. You get this sense like you’re being sucked into a region within the middle of your chest. There’s no answer. My heart aches for you, and that I know this: we have an unbroken obligation, a sacred obligation to all or any of you, the families of these heroes. That obligation isn’t temporary. It lasts forever. The lives we lost today were lives given within the service of liberty, the service of security, and therefore the service of others. within the service of America. Like their fellow brothers and sisters in arms who have died defending our vision and our values within the struggle against terrorism, of the fallen today, they’re a part of an excellent noble company of yank heroes.
To those that administered this attack, also like anyone who wishes America harm, know this: we’ll not forgive. we’ll not forget. we’ll hunt you down and cause you to pay. I will be able to defend our interests and our people with every measure at my command. Over the past few weeks — I do know many of you’re probably uninterested in hearing me say it — we’ve been made aware by our Intelligence Community that the ISIS-K, an archenemy of the Taliban, people that were freed when both those prisons were opened, has been planning a posh set of attacks on our personnel et al.
. this is often why from the outset I’ve repeatedly said this mission was extraordinarily dangerous and why I’ve been so determined to limit the duration of this mission. As Gen. [Kenneth F.] McKenzie said, this is often why our mission was designed, this is often the way it had been designed to work, operate under severe stress and attack. We’ve known that from the start. And as I’ve been in constant contact with our senior military leaders — and that I mean constant, round the clock — and our commanders on the bottom throughout the day, they made it clear that we will and that we must complete this mission and that we will. And that’s what I’ve ordered them to try to do.
We will not be deterred by terrorists. we’ll not allow them to stop our mission. we’ll continue the evacuation. I’ve also ordered my commanders to develop operational plans to strike ISIS-K assets, leadership, and facilities. we’ll respond with force and precision at our time, at the place we elect, and therefore the moment of our choosing.
Here’s what you would like to know: These ISIS terrorists won’t win. we’ll rescue the Americans in there. we’ll get our Afghan allies out, and our mission will continue. America won’t be intimidated, and that I have the utmost confidence in our brave service members who still execute this mission with courage and honor to save lots of lives, and obtain Americans, our partners, our Afghan allies out of Afghanistan.
Every day when I’ve talked to our commanders, I asked them what they have, what more do they have, if anything, to urge the work done. As they’re going to tell you, I’ve granted every request. I reiterated to them today on three occasions that they ought to take the utmost steps necessary to guard our forces on the bottom in Kabul, and that I also want to thank the secretary of defense and therefore the military leadership at the Pentagon and every one the commanders within the field. There has been complete unanimity from every commander on the objectives of this mission and therefore the best thanks to achieving those objectives.
Those who have served through the ages and have drawn inspiration from the Book of Isaiah, when the Lord says: “Whom shall I send? Who shall choose us?” The American military has been answering for an extended time. “Here I’m, Lord. Send me. Here I am, send me.” all of those women and men of our soldiers are the heirs of that tradition of sacrifice, of volunteering to travel into harm’s thanks to risk everything, not for glory, not for profit, but to defend what we love and therefore the people we love.
And I ask that you simply join me now during a moment of silence for all those in uniform and out of uniform, military, and civilian, of giving the last full measure of devotion. Thank you. May God bless you all and should God protect the troops and every one those standing await America. we’ve such a lot to try to do. It’s within our capacity to try to do it. We just need to remain steadfast. Steadfast. we’ll complete our mission, and that we will continue after our troops are withdrawn to seek out means by which we will find any American who wishes to urge out of Afghanistan. We will find them and that we will get them out.