Transcript of Biden’s speech after Kabul airport attack
We’ve lost. We have some idea, like many of you, of how the families of these brave heroes feel today. You feel like you’re being sucked into a black hole in the middle of your chest. There is no way out. My heart aches for you, and I know this: We have an ongoing, sacred obligation to all of you, the families of these heroes. This obligation is not temporary. It lasts forever.
The lives we lost today were lives given in the service of freedom, in the service of security and in the service of others. Serving America. Like their brothers and sisters in arms who died defending our vision and our values in the fight against terrorism, missing today, they are part of a great and noble company of American heroes.
To those who carried out this attack, as well as to all those who wish America harm on America, know this: We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay. I will defend our interests and our people with all the measures at my disposal.
Over the past few weeks – I know many of you are probably tired of hearing me say this – we have been informed by our intelligence community that ISIS-K, a nemesis of the Taliban, people who have released when these two prisons were opened, planned a complex series of attacks on US personnel and others. This is why from the beginning I have repeated over and over again that this mission is extraordinarily dangerous and why I have been so determined to limit the duration of this mission.
Understanding the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan
Who are the Taliban? The Taliban emerged in 1994 amid the unrest following the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan in 1989. They used brutal public punishments, including flogging, amputations and mass executions, to enforce their rules. Here’s more on their origin story and their record as leaders.
Like the general [Kenneth F.] McKenzie said, this is why our mission was designed, this is the way it was designed to function, to function under severe stress and attack. We have known that from the start. And because I have been in constant contact with our senior military officials – and I mean constant, 24 hours a day – and our commanders on the ground throughout the day, they have made it clear that we can and must lead to well this mission and we go. And that’s what I ordered them to do.
We will not be deterred by terrorists. We won’t let them stop our mission. We will continue the evacuation. I also ordered my commanders to develop operational plans to strike ISIS-K assets, leadership and facilities. We will respond forcefully and accurately at our time, where we choose and when we choose.
Here’s what you need to know: These ISIS terrorists won’t win. We are going to save the Americans there. We will bring out our Afghan allies and our mission will continue. America will not be intimidated, and I have the utmost confidence in our brave servicemen who continue to carry out this mission with courage and honor to save lives and bring the Americans, our partners, our Afghan allies out of it. Afghanistan.