"I bear responsibility for, fundamentally, all that's happened of late… it was time to get out of a 20 year war."
U.S. President Joe Biden vowed on Thursday to “hunt” down those responsible for twin explosions at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan and said he asked the Pentagon to develop plans to strike back at them.
Biden spoke hours after the blasts killed at least thirteen American troops and scores of civilians, the worst day of casualties for U.S. forces there in a decade.
ISIS-K, an affiliate of militants who previously battled U.S. forces in Syria and Iraq, claimed responsibility for the attack.
“We will not forgive, we will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay... I have also ordered my commanders to develop operational plans to strike ISIS-K assets, leadership and facilities. We will respond with force and precision at our time, at the place we choose and the moment of our choosing.”
Abdul Qahar Balkhi, a member of the Taliban's cultural commission, in an interview with Turkey's Haberturk TV, blamed the attack on the 'presence of foreign forces.'
Biden, facing criticism over the U.S. evacuation after the rapid Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, has sought to hammer home a message in days before the attacks that the United States was leaving Afghanistan in order to save the lives of U.S. troops.
Meanwhile, U.S. officials said American forces in Kabul were bracing for more Islamic State attacks while winding up their evacuation mission.
Thursday's U.S. military casualties were the first in Afghanistan since February 2020 and represented the deadliest day for American troops there in a decade.
The U.S. military death toll in the Afghan war since 2001 is roughly 2,500.