Congressmen criticize Biden after airport attack kills 13 US troops

Taliban Takeover

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — President Joe Biden is facing criticism after a chaotic evacuation in Afghanistan turned deadly when suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds at Kabul airport.

“You can’t help but think ‘they didn’t have to die’,” Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) said on “On Balance” Thursday evening.

Gallagher served seven years as an intelligence officer with the Marines.

“This was an avoidable tragedy, foreseeable tragedy,” Gallagher said.

Biden promised Thursday to avenge the deaths of 13 US service members killed in the attack, declaring to the extremists responsible: “We will hunt you down and make you pay.”

“Taking responsibility for where things are today is what he (Biden) has done,”  Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.) said on “On Balance” Thursday. “Was there another way to do it? Not if you were going to withdraw your troops. Did he have any choice about withdrawing the troops? Probably very, very limited.”

Biden also vowed Thursday to complete the evacuation of American citizens and others from Afghanistan.

“I think the administration is putting all their eggs in the basket of the Taliban has given us this assurance or we have mutual interest in getting our people out of there,” Gallagher said. “I think that’s a very flawed analysis.”

Biden said the Islamic State group’s Afghanistan affiliate was to blame for the attacks that killed the Americans and many more Afghan civilians. He said there was no evidence they colluded with the Taliban, who now control the country.

“Why in the world would we put terrorists to keep us away from terrorists?” Rep. Mike Bost (R-Ill.), a Marine veteran, said on “The Donlon Report” on Thursday. “That makes no sense to so many members of Congress, Republican and Democrat alike, especially those veterans who have served in that country and understand what they’re dealing with.”

Bost believes Biden should alter his Aug. 31 deadline for withdrawal. Thursday’s attacks came 12 days into the rushed evacuation and five days before its scheduled completion.

“We’ve got to make sure that we get all of our Americans out of Afghanistan, and if that means extending the deadline, extend the deadline,” Bost said. “We’ve ruined our relationship with our allies. We are the laughingstock of our enemies. And we are now trying desperately to still get American citizens out and those who have supported us there on the ground.”

Garamendi, who serves on the House Armed Services Committee, says Biden already extended Trump’s May deadline for withdrawal.

“This is the final stages of the 20-year war that the United States has conducted in Afghanistan,” Garamendi said. “Today is a tragic day in the annals of that 20 years as we leave that country, appropriately leave that country. And then in the process of evacuating in what is clearly one of the greatest humanitarian evacuations ever attempted with great success, and also with great failure.”

Biden has repeatedly cited the threat of terrorist attacks against civilians and U.S. service members as a reason to keep to his plan.

“We will respond with force and precision at our time, at the place of our choosing,” Biden said. “These ISIS terrorists will not win. We will rescue the Americans; we will get our Afghan allies out, and our mission will go on. America will not be intimidated.”

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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