Reacting to a bombing attack in Kabul that killed at least 13 U.S. service members and dozens of Afghans on Thursday, Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, issued a statement calling on President Joe Biden to disregard the Aug. 31 deadline for U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The attack in Kabul was believed to be the work of ISIS-K, a rival of the Taliban.
Garcia and his wife, Rebecca, sent their “prayers and deepest condolences to the families of the U.S. service members that gave the ultimate sacrifice in Kabul this morning,” in a prepared statement released Thursday afternoon.
“Today was one of the deadliest days for the U.S. military in the last 20 years and it was preventable,” the congressman said in a prepared statement. “I have said from the day the president announced his plan to unconditionally withdraw from Afghanistan by a set date that his approach would only fuel the global war on terror and embolden terrorists. Today’s attacks prove this to be true.”
Garcia said Biden should disregard the Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline agreed upon with the Taliban.
“(President Biden) must instead commit to evacuating all Americans and our Afghan allies. Anything less than that is inexcusable,” he said. “We cannot continue to rely on diplomacy with the Taliban to resolve this situation. This is clearly a military operation and the president must treat it as such. America must utilize all resources at our disposal to protect American lives and keep our promises to our allies.”
Biden called the American soldiers who died “heroes who have been engaged in a dangerous, selfless mission to save the lives of others” during a speech in the East Room of the White House Thursday.
“And with regard to…tracking down the ISIS leaders who ordered this, we have some reason to believe we know who they are — not certain — and we will find ways of our choosing, without large military operations, to get them,” he said, noting he and First Lady Jill Biden felt “outraged as well as heartbroken.”
Biden said he would not let terrorists deter him from accomplishing the mission of evacuating Americans and Afghan allies from Afghanistan.
“To those who carried out this attack, as well as anyone who wishes America harm, know this: We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay,” he said.