Reported by MICHAEL GINSBERG | GENERAL ASSIGNMENT REPORTER | August 26, 2021
Members of Congress in both parties are demanding that President Joe Biden respond to the ISIS-Khorasan Province terrorist attack that has killed at least 12 Americans.
The attack outside Hamid Karzai International Airport made Thursday the deadliest day for Americans in Afghanistan since Aug. 6, 2011, and the third-deadliest day throughout the 20-year-long war. Two ISIS-Khorasan Province suicide bombers detonated explosive vests before gunmen opened fire on a crowd, U.S. Central Command Commander Gen. Kenneth McKenzie told reporters.
“This murderous attack offers the clearest possible reminder that terrorists will not stop fighting the United States just because our politicians grow tired of fighting them,” Senate Minority Leader and Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell said in a statement. “I remain concerned that terrorists worldwide will be emboldened by our retreat, by this attack, and by the establishment of a radical Islamic terror state in Afghanistan. We need to redouble our global efforts to confront these barbarian enemies who want to kill Americans and attack our homeland.”
McConnell’s counterpart, Democratic New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, declared that “it must be made clear to the world that the terrorists who perpetrated this will be sought and be brought to justice.”
“The U.S. cannot and will not be silent in the face of these attacks – we must bring to justice the terrorists who committed these heinous acts as we work to extract others from harm’s way,” Democratic Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen added. “We must work to establish stability on the ground and remain focused on securing the safety of U.S. citizens, our troops, and our Afghan partners.”
House Minority Leader and Republican California Rep. Kevin McCarthy called on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to “bring Congress back before Aug. 31 so we can be briefed thoroughly by the Administration and prohibit the withdrawal of our troops until every American is safely out.”
House Republicans were briefed by Biden administration officials on Tuesday.
Pelosi did not commit to bringing the House back from recess, but she did say that “Committees of Jurisdiction will continue to hold briefings on Afghanistan.”
Democratic New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez appeared to take a shot at the Biden administration’s withdrawal policy, declaring, “We can’t trust the Taliban with Americans’ security.”
Republican Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse urged Biden to “rip up the Aug. 31 [withdrawal] deadline and defend evacuation routes by expanding the perimeter around the Kabul airport or by retaking Bagram” Air Force Base.