A major explosion erupted outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul Thursday.
At least 100 people — men, women and children — were killed, including 13 U.S. service members, when two blasts rocked through large crowds waiting to enter the facility. The suicide bomb attack marked the deadliest day for the United States military in Afghanistan in more than a decade.
President Joe Biden spoke emotionally, but also laboriously and at times incoherently to the nation Thursday evening, while remaining determined to present a strawman choice between building a Jeffersonian democracy in Afghanistan and the current catastrophe.
Biden said the American service members who gave their lives “were part of an airlift and evacuation effort unlike anything in history.”
He added the fallen were members of “the bravest, most selfless military on the face of the earth … the spine of America, the best the country has to offer.”
Reacting after his address to a rare question from Fox News, Biden quickly blamed his predecessor.
Even with respected Democrat senators pushing him to extend his withdrawal deadline past next Tuesday, the president remained steadfast. Critics argue there is an imperfect middle ground far superior to this month’s tragedies and the unknown future.
“I’ve instructed the military, whatever they need — if they need additional force — I will grant it,” Biden said, then claiming his commanders “subscribe to the mission as designed.”
Noteworthy from Biden’s speech was a dismissal of the idea that the military could evacuate all Afghans who helped Americans during the war, leaving the inevitability of thousands stranded in Afghanistan.
“I know of no conflict, as a student of history, no conflict where when a war was ended, one side was able to guarantee that everyone that wanted to be extracted from that country would get out,” he said.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki followed her boss with a bizarre briefing, claiming America maintains “enormous leverage” over the Taliban, while Vice President Kamala Harris’s rare address to troops in Hawaii was closed to all media.
In other troubling news, a Politico story earlier Thursday said the U.S. bequeathed the Taliban a list of American citizens, green-card holders, and Afghan allies to grant entry into the outer perimeter of the airport, prompting outrage from lawmakers and military officials.
“Basically, they just put all those Afghans on a kill list,” an anonymous defense official said. “It’s just appalling and shocking and makes you feel unclean.”
A.J. Kaufman is an Alpha News columnist. His work has appeared in the Baltimore Sun, Florida Sun-Sentinel, Indianapolis Star, Israel National News, Orange County Register, St. Cloud Times, Star-Tribune, and across AIM Media Midwest and the Internet. Kaufman previously worked as a school teacher and military historian.