President Joe Biden reacted to the news of twelve American troops killed in two suicide bombings in Kabul outside the airport where the United States continues trying to evacuate U.S. citizens and Afghan allies.
“It’s been a tough day,” Biden began, slapping the podium after he arrived 25 minutes late for his speech at the White House.
The president spoke for about twenty minutes before taking questions from the press but ultimately struggled when asked by Fox News reporter Peter Doocy to take responsibility for the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan.White House
“I bear responsibility for fundamentally all that’s happened of late,” he said, before pivoting to blame former President Donald Trump.
“But here’s the deal: you know — I wish you’d one day say these things — you know as well as I do that the former President made a deal with the Taliban that he would get all American forces out of Afghanistan by May 1,” he said, according to the White House’s transcript of his remarks.
Biden celebrated the heroism of the lost American service members that he sent to Afghanistan to secure the evacuation of Americans and Afghan allies out of the country after Kabul fell to the Taliban.
“They were heroes, heroes who’ve been engaged in a dangerous, selfless mission to save the lives of others,” he said.
The president also vowed to make the terrorist organizations responsible for the attacks pay.
“To those who carried out the attack and to anyone who wishes Americans harm: We will not forgive, we will not forget, we will hunt you down and make you pay,” he said.
Biden said he always acknowledged the danger of the operation, and it was why he wanted to leave Afghanistan in the first place.
“We will complete our mission. We will continue, after our troops are withdrawn, to find means by which we can find any American who wishes to get out of Afghanistan — we will find them and we will get them out,” he said.
Biden said he did not make a mistake by trusting the Taliban, noting that they delivered on “the major things we’ve asked them.”
He said that the United States could not trust them, but could hope that their mutual self-interest would lead to positive results.
“They’re not good guys, the Taliban. I’m not suggesting that at all,” he said.
This is the eleventh day since the fall of Kabul as the Afghanistan government collapsed and the Taliban seized control of Kabul.