President Joe Biden warned Saturday that the threat of another terrorist attack near the Kabul airport is “highly likely” as the U.S. scrambles to complete its evacuation efforts.
In a statement, Mr. Biden said the situation remains “extremely dangerous” on the ground, and said U.S. officials expected another attack to occur prior to Tuesday’s withdrawal deadline.
The Islamic State Khorasan, or ISIS-K, took responsibility for Thursday’s suicide bombing at the Kabul airport that killed 13 U.S. troops and 170 Afghans. In response to the attack, the U.S. launched a retaliatory strike Friday, which Pentagon officials say killed two ISIS-K militants.
On Saturday, Mr. Biden vowed that Friday’s strike would not be the last.
“We will continue to hunt down any person involved in that heinous attack and make them pay,” the president said in a statement. “Whenever anyone seeks to harm the United States or attack our troops, we will respond. That will never be in doubt.”
Leading up to Tuesday’s withdrawal deadline, the State Department said Saturday that about 350 Americans are still awaiting evacuation. Given the threat of an attack, U.S. officials have warned Americans to stay away from the airport.
About 6,800 people were evacuated in a 24 hour period on Saturday, according to Pentagon officials. Since Aug. 14, the U.S. has evacuated 117,000 people total.
Evacuations have been down since Thursday’s attack, according to national reports. Prior to the bombing, White House officials said early Thursday that 13,400 people had been airlifted over a 24-hour period.