U.S. Rep. Tom Reed blamed President Joe Biden in the wake of terror attacks in Afghanistan that killed 12 Marines and one Navy medic, and wounded at least 18 other service members.
At least 60 Afghans were killed and more than 140 were wounded in the attacks by two suicide bombers as well as gunmen outside the Kabul airport. The Islamic State terror group claimed responsibility for the attacks.
“Our prayers go out to our men and women of the military in Afghanistan and specifically those heroic soldiers that were killed today in Kabul,” Reed said in a statement.
“This is a horrific reminder of the Biden administration’s failure in conducting the withdrawal from Afghanistan. This administration has American blood on its hands and must be held to account,” Reed said.
Biden vowed to complete the evacuation of American citizens and others from Afghanistan despite the attack. He also promised to avenge the deaths, declaring to the extremists responsible: “We will hunt you down and make you pay.”
Reed said now is not the time for “political spin” and “poll-tested decisions” on the part of Biden’s administration, adding “these are real lives being lost that demand true leadership. Let’s pray to God that this leadership emerges.”
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said he had spoken directly with Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III regarding Thursday’s attacks.
“I strongly condemn this act of terrorism and it must be clear to the world that the terrorists who perpetrated this will be sought and brought to justice,” Schumer said in a statement.
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said she was monitoring the situation in Kabul and will consult intelligence and defense officials about the details surrounding the attack.
“My thoughts are with the brave service members and innocent Afghans killed and wounded in this terror attack,” she said in a statement. “The safety of brave U.S. service members carrying out this dangerous mission, including those from New York’s 10th Mountain Division, and the remaining U.S. citizens, must remain our top priority as we continue the evacuation of all Americans, SIVs and at-risk Afghans.”
U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson, the Pennsylvania Republican whose district includes McKean, Cameron and Elk counties, said the attacks underscore the “serious consequences” of what he called the “haphazard withdrawal” from Afghanistan.
“We know vacating the region will present additional security challenges and empower terrorist groups,” Thompson said. “It is my hope President Biden will take today’s events into consideration and immediately move to have U.S. and ally forces secure the area to ensure the safety of American and Afghan civilians while reevaluating his arbitrary deadline of total withdrawal by next Tuesday.”
U.S. Rep. Fred Keller, another Pennsylvania Republican and whose district includes Potter County, said he is praying for the American troops who were wounded or killed, as well as for their families, while he stated the “responsibility for the chaos currently unfolding in Afghanistan rests squarely” on Biden.
“Our nation is grateful for every man and woman in uniform, especially those who remain on the ground in Kabul, in harm’s way, conducting this important mission,” Keller said. “Their bravery will always be remembered.”
The congressman said Biden’s “weak leadership and misguided efforts to negotiate with terrorists contributed to the loss of American life. This catastrophe was entirely avoidable and President Biden must be held accountable.”
He reiterated that the top priority must be the safe evacuation of American citizens and military personnel — and that no American is left behind.