President Biden addressed the nation Thursday evening following two bombing attacks outside the Kabul airport that killed 12 U.S. service members and dozens of Afghans. Biden blamed Islamic State Khorasan, or ISIS-K, for the attack and vowed to avenge those deaths.
JOE BIDEN: To those who carried out this attack, as well as anyone who wishes America harm, 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 every measure at my command.
Over the past few weeks, I know many of you are probably tired of hearing me say it, we've been made aware by our intelligence community that the ISIS-K, an arch enemy, the Taliban, people who were freed when both those prisons are opened, has been planning a complex set of attacks on the United States personnel and others. This is why from the outset I repeatedly said, this mission was extraordinarily dangerous and why I've been so determined to limit the duration of this mission.
As General McKenzie said, this is why our mission was designed. This is the way it was designed to operate. Operate under severe stress an attack. We've known that from the beginning. And as I've been in constant contact with our senior military leaders, and I mean constant, around the clock, and our commanders on the ground throughout the day, they made it clear that we can and we must complete this mission, and we will. And that's what I've ordered them to do.
We will not be deterred by terrorists. Will not let them stop our mission. We will continue the evacuation. I've also ordered my commanders to develop operational plans to strike ISIS-K assets, leadership, and facilities. We will respond with force and precision at our time, at the place we choose, in a moment of our choosing.
Here's what you need to know. These ISIS terrorists will not win. We will rescue the Americans in there. We will get our Afghan allies out and our mission will go on. America will not be intimidated. And I have the utmost confidence in our brave service members who continue to execute this mission with courage and honor, to save lives and get Americans, our partners, our Afghan allies, out of Afghanistan.