In a tragic turn of events that is prompting calls for President Joe Biden’s impeachment, the Defense Department confirmed that 13 U.S. service members and no fewer than 169 Afghans died Thursday in a terrorist bomb attack near Hamid Karzai International Airport, the scene of mass evacuations ahead of the planned withdrawal of American troops from the country on Aug. 31, according to USA Today.
Though it was initially reported that two explosions were detonated in the vicinity of the airport, the Pentagon announced on Friday its belief that there was just a single suicide bombing that took place near the facility’s Abbey Gate and that a second suspected attack near the Baron Hotel did not, in fact, occur.
The attack claimed the lives of 13 members of the U.S. military and left several other injured, and an unnamed American official told Reuters on Friday that that number of fatalities was likely to rise. CBS News reported that 170 Afghans were killed in the tragic event.
As Reuters also noted, the deadly attack brought about the first U.S. military deaths in the country since February of 2020, and was the deadliest single incident for American forces there in roughly ten years.
With Biden’s firm withdrawal date rapidly approaching, and U.S. troops attempting to complete the evacuation mission, military officials have warned that they are braced for the possibility of additional attacks in the coming days.
After Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, head of the U.S. military’s Central Command, Marine Corps General Frank McKenzie said, “We believe it is their desire to continue these attacks and we expect those attacks to continue – and we’re doing everything we can to be prepared.”
Speaking to the nation several hours after news of the deadly blast emerged, Biden spoke to those responsible for the killings and pledged, “We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay,” though critics wondered how, with the hasty and complete withdrawal of forces and intelligence assets set to occur in mere days, that promise could be fulfilled.
With Biden’s approval among voters already in a nosedive over his handling of the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, the deaths of U.S. service members in Thursday’s attack has amplified calls from a number of top Republicans for Biden’s resignation or impeachment, as Fox News notes.
Encapsulating the exasperation felt by so many over the needless chaos, devastation, and death resulting from Biden’s decisions, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) stated, “To say that today’s loss of American lives in Kabul is sickening does not begin to do justice to what has happened. It is enraging. And Joe Biden is responsible. It is now clear beyond all doubt that he has neither the capacity nor the will to lead. He must resign.”