In a press briefing Thursday, U.S. Department of Defense officials said that the U.S. will continue to evacuate Americans and other allies from Afghanistan despite two terrorist attacks this week that killed a dozen U.S. service members and injured others.
“While we’re saddened by the loss of life, both U.S. and Afghan, we’re continuing to execute the mission,” said Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, Jr., commander of U.S. Central Command. “Our mission is to evacuate U.S. citizens ... special immigrant visa holders, U.S. embassy staff and Afghans at risk.
“As the Secretary of State said yesterday, we believe that there are about a thousand, probably a little more than 1,000 American citizens left in Afghanistan at this point. We’re doing everything we can in concert with our Department of State partners to reach out to them and to help them leave if they want to leave, and remember, not everybody wants to leave. Yesterday, we brought in over 500 American citizens.”
The attacks happened this week when two suicide bombers, identified as ISIS fighters, detonated a bomb near Abbey Gate at Hamid Karzai International Airport and Baron Hotel, which is near the airport, The Christian Post reports.
“The attack on the Abbey Gate was followed by a number of ISIS gunmen, who opened fire on civilians and military forces. At this time, we know that 12 U.S. service members have been killed in the attack and 15 more service members have been injured,” McKenzie said.
The attacks came just days before a deadline to evacuate Afghanistan and as the U.S. withdraws troops from the country.
McKenzie said the U.S. is working with the Taliban, which has since taken control of Afghanistan.
McKenzie also said that the U.S. had shared national security information “with the Taliban so that they can actually do some searching out there for us.”
He noted that the U.S. “cut(s) down the information we give the Taliban. They don’t get the full range of information that we have.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Oleksii Liskonih
Video courtesy: ©Washington Post
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.