Trump and Melania share their ‘deepest condolences’ to those killed Kabul

Donald and Melania Trump on Thursday shared their ‘deepest condolences’ for the 13 American service members killed in the explosions in Kabul. 

‘Melania and I send our deepest condolences to the families of our brilliant and brave Service Members whose duty to the U.S.A. meant so much to them. Our thoughts are also with the families of the innocent civilians who died today in the savage Kabul attack,’ the former president said in a statement.

‘This tragedy should never have been allowed to happen, which makes our grief even deeper and more difficult to understand,’ he added.

Trump has been deeply critical of President Joe Biden‘s handling of the situation in Afghanistan, including the evacuation of Americans stationed there and their Afghan allies.

Melania Trump added thoughts of her own via her Twitter account: ‘We are praying for the families and loved ones of the Marine heroes killed in Kabul and for everyone who is suffering during this difficult time.’ 

Donald and Melania Trump shared their 'deepest condolences' for the American service members killed

Donald and Melania Trump shared their 'deepest condolences' for the American service members killed

Donald and Melania Trump shared their ‘deepest condolences’ for the American service members killed

American officials vowed to continue its Afghanistan evacuation mission despite ISIS killing 13 troops on Thursday in a double bombing at Kabul airport, and has vowed to hunt down the terrorists responsible for the attack. 

President Biden will address the nation tonight at 5pm – nearly eight hours after two suicide attacks at Kabul airport on Thursday – as criticism of his response to the crisis grew and furious Republicans called for him to be impeached or resign.  

Eleven Marines, one Navy medic and another servicemember were among those killed along with dozens of Afghans on Thursday when the two bombs went off as the remaining Westerners in Kabul tried to get out. 

Former Trump national security adviser H.R. McMaster warned there was more to come.

‘What we saw today is just the beginning,’ McMaster told Yahoo News. ‘We are going to see horrible image after horrible image. … We’re going to confront the steady drumbeat of horrors inflicted on the Afghan people. What are we going to do about it? Are we going to give a damn? Or is this going to be like Rwanda?’

McMaster, a defense hawk and retired Army general, has been critical of Biden’s decision to stick to the August 31st deadline to withdraw U.S. troops. He was also critical of then President Trump’s February 2020 agreement with the Taliban, which paved the way for the U.S. withdrawal.

Biden is facing questions if he’ll stick to that date and whether he’ll retaliate after the attacks on U.S. service members.  

The first bomber was wearing a vest and was being searched by troops when he detonated. The second was a car bomb attack.  It’s unclear how the suicide bomber in the vest got through Taliban checkpoints and close enough to the Marines to kill them.   

On Thursday, General Kenneth F. McKenzie, the commander on the ground, vowed that the dangerous evacuation effort would continue despite the growing threat from ISIS.   

‘We expect these attacks to continue,’ General McKenzie said, saying he was particularly worried about another car bomb attack that could claim more troops’ lives. 

Despite the danger, he said there was no alternative but to have troops continue to search people on the ground before they board flights, and that more than 100,000 had already been checked. 

He also vowed to retaliate against ISIS, but only once the exact people responsible could be found.  ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack on Twitter.  

One thousand Americans remain in Afghanistan but McKenzie says not all of them want to leave.

He says the troops on the ground will work to get those who do want to leave out, but that is becoming an increasingly unmanageable task given the risk to troops and fast-approaching Taliban deadline to get out. 

There are now growing calls from Republicans including Nikki Haley, former US ambassador to the UN, for Biden to resign or be impeached because of how he has handled the withdrawal.  

WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT 

A man injured in the Kabul terrorists attacks on Thursday arrives at hospital to be treated. Among those killed in the two bomb attacks were 11 US Marines and one Navy medic

A man injured in the Kabul terrorists attacks on Thursday arrives at hospital to be treated. Among those killed in the two bomb attacks were 11 US Marines and one Navy medic

A man injured in the Kabul terrorists attacks on Thursday arrives at hospital to be treated. Among those killed in the two bomb attacks were 11 US Marines and one Navy medic 

Medical staff bring an injured man to a hospital in an ambulance after two powerful explosions, which killed at least six people, outside the airport in Kabul on August 26, 2021

Medical staff bring an injured man to a hospital in an ambulance after two powerful explosions, which killed at least six people, outside the airport in Kabul on August 26, 2021

Medical staff bring an injured man to a hospital in an ambulance after two powerful explosions, which killed at least six people, outside the airport in Kabul on August 26, 2021

Horrifying footage from Kabul airport shows dozens of Afghans lying in blood after two ISIS suicide bombers attacked crowds who were hoping to flee the Taliban

Horrifying footage from Kabul airport shows dozens of Afghans lying in blood after two ISIS suicide bombers attacked crowds who were hoping to flee the Taliban

Horrifying footage from Kabul airport shows dozens of Afghans lying in blood after two ISIS suicide bombers attacked crowds who were hoping to flee the Taliban

In this frame grab from video, people attend to a wounded man near the site of a deadly explosion outside the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021

The blast was outside The Baron Hotel, at the Abbey Gate of Kabul airport. Westerners were staying in the hotel before their evacuation flights

The blast was outside The Baron Hotel, at the Abbey Gate of Kabul airport. Westerners were staying in the hotel before their evacuation flights

The blast was outside The Baron Hotel, at the Abbey Gate of Kabul airport. Westerners were staying in the hotel before their evacuation flights

Wounded women arrive at a hospital for treatment after two blasts, which killed at least five and wounded a dozen, outside the airport in Kabul on August 26, 2021

Wounded women arrive at a hospital for treatment after two blasts, which killed at least five and wounded a dozen, outside the airport in Kabul on August 26, 2021

Wounded women arrive at a hospital for treatment after two blasts, which killed at least five and wounded a dozen, outside the airport in Kabul on August 26, 2021

Medical and hospital staff bring an injured man on a stretcher for treatment after two powerful explosions, which killed at least six people, outside the airport in Kabul on August 26, 2021

Medical and hospital staff bring an injured man on a stretcher for treatment after two powerful explosions, which killed at least six people, outside the airport in Kabul on August 26, 2021

Medical and hospital staff bring an injured man on a stretcher for treatment after two powerful explosions, which killed at least six people, outside the airport in Kabul on August 26, 2021

In this frame grab from video, a medical worker attends to a person wounded in a deadly explosion at the Kabul airport, at a hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan

In this frame grab from video, a medical worker attends to a person wounded in a deadly explosion at the Kabul airport, at a hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan

In this frame grab from video, a medical worker attends to a person wounded in a deadly explosion at the Kabul airport, at a hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan 

ISIS has claimed responsibility for Thursday's sequence of attacks. A fighter is shown in a grab from the group's Telegram account, where they are allowed to operate

ISIS has claimed responsibility for Thursday's sequence of attacks. A fighter is shown in a grab from the group's Telegram account, where they are allowed to operate

ISIS has claimed responsibility for Thursday’s sequence of attacks. A fighter is shown in a grab from the group’s Telegram account, where they are allowed to operate

An official death toll – including those Afghan civilians – from Thursday’s attack has not yet been given but according to those on the ground including a New York Times reporter who counted 40 dead bodies. 

The Wall Street Journal said 60 Afghans had died. 

In the wake of the explosion, Norway, Poland, Holland and Canada have all stopped evacuating citizens. 

General McKenzie said the US would keep evacuating its citizens despite Thursday’s attack and despite an ‘imminent’ threat of more attacks.

The threat they are most concerned about is another car bomb, he said, but there is also intelligence to suggest ISIS wants to launch a rocket attack too. 

Gen. McKenzie said the US would go after ISIS to retaliate if they can find the right groups. The threat of a suicide-born vehicle threat is ‘very high.’

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, left, refused to take questions at a briefing on Thursday afternoon and instead let General Kenneth F. McKenzie, the commander on the ground, speak to reporters via Zoom

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, left, refused to take questions at a briefing on Thursday afternoon and instead let General Kenneth F. McKenzie, the commander on the ground, speak to reporters via Zoom

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, left, refused to take questions at a briefing on Thursday afternoon and instead let General Kenneth F. McKenzie, the commander on the ground, speak to reporters via Zoom 

He also said the US was working to determine how the suicide bomber got through, and that it may have been down to Taliban incompetence. 

He said there was no evidence the Taliban helped facilitate the attack. 

Among critics on Thursday as Trump's National Security Adviser, H.R McMaster, who said the attacks were 'just the beginning'

Among critics on Thursday as Trump's National Security Adviser, H.R McMaster, who said the attacks were 'just the beginning'

Among critics on Thursday as Trump’s National Security Adviser, H.R McMaster, who said the attacks were ‘just the beginning’ 

 ‘Clearly, if they get up to the Marines, there was a failure here.  The Taliban operate with varying degrees of competence – some of these guys are good and scrupulous, and some are not,’ he said.

General McKenzie is the only person from the government to speak to reporters about the fiasco. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken only tweeted about it. 

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement: ‘On behalf of the men and women of the Department of Defense, I express my deepest condolences to the loved ones and teammates of all those killed and wounded in Kabul today.

‘Terrorists took their lives at the very moment these troops were trying to save the lives of others. We mourn their loss. We will treat their wounds. And we will support their families in what will most assuredly be devastating grief.

‘But we will not be dissuaded from the task at hand. To do anything less – especially now – would dishonor the purpose and sacrifice these men and women have rendered our country and the people of Afghanistan.’  

Republicans, outraged about the terrorist attacks in Kabul that left US personnel dead, accused President Biden of having ‘blood on his hands,’ as Sen. Lindsey Graham urged the US to take back control of Bagram airbase after reports of two explosions at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. 

‘I have advocated for days that the Bagram Air Base should be reopened as the Kabul airport is very difficult to defend and has been the only evacuation outlet,’ the South Carolina Republican wrote on Twitter

‘We have the capability to reestablish our presence at Bagram to continue to evacuate American citizens and our Afghan allies. The biggest mistake in this debacle is abandoning Bagram.’  

‘I urge the Biden Administration to reestablish our presence in Bagram as an alternative to the Kabul airport so that we do not leave our fellow citizens and thousands of Afghan allies behind. It is not a capability problem, but a problem of will,’ Graham said. 

‘The retaking of Bagram would put our military at risk, but I think those involved in the operation would gladly accept that risk because it would restore our honor as a nation and save lives.’ 

Lawmakers were briefed on the situation this week by Biden’s national security team. 

Meanwhile, Democrat Foreign Affairs Committee chair Sen. Bob Menendez, said:  ‘This is a full-fledged humanitarian crisis and US government personnel … must secure the airport.’

‘As we wait for more details to come in, one thing is clear: We can’t trust the Taliban with Americans’ security.’

House GOP leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy  called on Speaker Nancy Pelosi to bring back the House so that lawmakers can be briefed on the situation.

‘Today’s attacks are horrific. My prayers go out to those who were injured and the families of those who were killed. I also continue to pray for the safety of our troops, the stranded American citizens, our allies and Afghan partners who remain in the area. Our enemies have taken advantage of the chaotic nature of the withdrawal,’ the California Republican said in a statement. 

‘It is time for Congress to act quickly to save lives. Speaker Pelosi must bring Congress back into session before August 31 so that we can be briefed thoroughly and comprehensively by the Biden Administration and pass Representative Gallagher’s legislation prohibiting the withdrawal of our troops until every American is out of Afghanistan.’  

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