On Friday, President Joe Biden published a message remembering the 13 American service members who perished in the airport explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan, a year ago.
“Abbey Gate near the Kabul Airport was the site of a terrible terrorist attack a year ago, resulting in the deaths of 13 honorable American service members and more than 100 innocent Afghan civilians. Many more were injured and will carry the impact of their wounds and experiences for the rest of their lives,” the president said pertaining to the Aug. 26, 2021, bombing.
My statement on the anniversary of the terrorist attack outside the Kabul Airport: pic.twitter.com/BiZjoyWSne
— President Biden (@POTUS) August 26, 2022
After the Taliban took over Afghanistan, the military launched an operation to evacuate noncombatants en masse from Hamid Karzai International Airport, where the service members were killed. This happened in the last month of the United States’ formal military presence in the country after 20 years.
“Today, I am praying for the families of those 13 fallen warriors, who lost a piece of their soul one year ago. Although our country will never be able to fully compensate for the sacrifice made by those who served, we will never let the solemn commitment we have to the loved ones they left behind go unfulfilled. I am also holding in my heart all those who lost their child, partner, parent, sibling, loved one, or battle buddy over our two decades of war in Afghanistan,” Biden said. “There were 2,461 fatalities among American forces. Twenty thousand seven hundred forty-four were injured, so many whose lives are forever marked by their injuries. It is a painful reminder that there is nothing low-cost or low-grade about war for those we ask to fight for us.”
A number of families of the 13 service personnel were interviewed by the Washington Examiner prior to the anniversary of the bombing; all of them voiced displeasure with the way Washington, and the Biden presidency, in particular, handled the loss of their loved ones.
Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Darin T. Hoover’s father, also called Darin, said, “We didn’t hear one single thing from the government, not a single word, and still haven’t. Not that we would take it because of the way that this happened. Six months into it … the administration sent out letters to the families. And it was a canned letter. Everybody’s was exactly the same. It was likely photocopied, and Mr. Biden’s signature was affixed with a simple stamp. And that was it. Nothing personal.“
Biden’s job approval ratings took a nosedive after the public disapproved of how he managed the departure from Afghanistan. Tommy Pigott, a member of the Republican National Committee, said, “Today, we remember the 13 American heroes who were slain in an attack on the Kabul airport during Biden’s tragic evacuation. Forever in our hearts.”
The names of the 13 service members were included in the president’s statement. Biden had been asked to recite their names by Mark Schmitz, father of fallen Marine Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz.
Even though the president’s speech came after the White House issued statements from Biden on inflation and abortion, both Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin issued statements honoring their losses.