Biden says he has ordered a retaliatory strike on ISIS-K after the suicide bombings at Kabul airport

Biden says he has ordered a retaliatory strike on ISIS-K after the suicide bombings at Kabul airport
President Joe Biden speaks about the situation in Afghanistan in the East Room of the White House on August 26, 2021 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images
  • President Joe Biden on Thursday said he ordered a retaliatory strike to be carried out on ISIS-K.
  • He said the US was working on plans to strike the group's assets, leadership, and facilities.
  • He added that the US would respond with "force and precision" at its own time.

President Joe Biden said Thursday that he had ordered US military commanders to develop plans for a retaliatory strike against ISIS-K, the Islamic State's Afghan affiliate, which claimed responsibility for the deadly suicide bombings near Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Biden said the US military would be developing operational plans to "strike ISIS-K assets, leadership, and facilities" after a string of suicide bombings earlier Thursday outside the Kabul airport that killed at least 13 American troops as well as dozens of Afghans seeking airlifts out of the country.

"We will respond with force and precision in our time, at a place we choose, in a manner of our choosing," Biden said in a televised address.

"These ISIS terrorists will not win. We will rescue the Americans. We will get our Afghan allies out. And our mission will go on," the president added, reiterating that US citizens would continue to be evacuated from Afghanistan. "America will not be intimidated."

In the same speech, Biden vowed to defend the interests of Americans with "every measure" of his command.


"We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay," Biden said.

The New York Times noted that Biden's remarks from the East Wing echoed President George W. Bush's comments in the days following the September 11, 2001, attacks, which prompted the US to invade Afghanistan.

"This conflict was begun on the timing and terms of others - it will end in a way and at an hour of our choosing," Bush said back in 2001.

Witnesses in Kabul have described horrific sights of people being blown up before their eyes and dying in their arms.

Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., the commander of US Central Command, also warned Thursday that the threat from the Afghan ISIS affiliate was "extremely real" and that attacks were likely to continue.


An official who wished to remain anonymous told the Associated Press that at least 95 Afghans were killed in Thursday's bombings.

The New York Times reported that an additional 120 to 140 people were injured.