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Biden has questioned the leadership of the unrest caused by the blast in Kabul America’s longest war is ending as it began, with the nation mourning the dead of a terrorist attack and an outraged President vowing to hunt down the culprits in Afghanistan.

The bloody coda to a tortured 20 years — the loss of 13 US troops and at least 90 Afghans in blasts outside Kabul’s airport on Thursday — exemplified the human tragedy and ultimate futility of a conflict that failed in its core purpose: purging Afghan soil of terrorism. In a cruel irony, the latest Americans to die perished in an attack conceived in the very same land as the al Qaeda assault on September 11, 2001, that triggered the war they were trying to leave.

The atrocity — believed to have been carried out by the Islamic State affiliate known as ISIS-K — rocked the final stages of the frantic US evacuation of as many as 1,000 Americans who may still be in the country, as well as thousands of Afghans who helped US forces and officials and fear Taliban executions if they are left behind. Approximately 12,500 people were evacuated from Afghanistan in the latest 24-hour period, according to the White House.

Biden has questioned the leadership of the unrest caused by the blast in Kabul It also shone a harsh light on President Joe Biden’s decision-making and the chaotic nature of the US withdrawal that left American troops and civilians so vulnerable, in the confusing, chaotic days after the Taliban seized Kabul.

The most alarming realization in the aftermath of the carnage was that there may be more to come before the deadline for the US to leave for good on Tuesday.
Here are the groups vying for power in Afghanistan

Gen. Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie, who heads US Central Command, warned that new threats from ISIS-K, possibly involving rockets or vehicle borne suicide bombs could be imminent. That means that the next four days will be among the most tense and dangerous of the entire war for US troops. And the awful possibility remains that the country’s last victim of the first post-9/11 war is yet to die.
At a time of national tragedy, nations turn to their leaders. Biden, who spent much of the day in the White House Situation Room, emerged in the late afternoon for a televised speech. Torn between grief and resolve, he vowed vengeance. “We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay,” the President told the terrorists in remarks that mostly seemed aimed at projecting strength to Americans at home.
“We will respond with force and precision at our time, at the place we choose, and the moment of our choosing,” the President said. Biden’s withdrawal marks the symbolic reversal of the US arrival in Afghanistan launched after 9/11 and the strategy of putting troops on the ground in foreign states to fight terrorism.

But ironically, his pledge of revenge mirrored one made by ex-President George W. Bush days after the world’s worst terrorist attacks. “This conflict was begun on the timing and terms of others; it will end in a way and at an hour of our choosing,” Bush said at a prayer service at Washington National Cathedral. The similarity reflected the truth that American presidents — for all their nation’s power now somewhat drained by an exhausting two decades-long war — can be singularly challenged by terrorism, an asymmetric threat that cannot defeat the United States but can wound it and threaten to drag it into perpetual conflict.
Some things in Biden’s speech don’t add up

Biden’s address on Thursday was punctuated by several contradictions.
First, his vow to “complete the mission” of extracting from the country all remaining Americans and Afghans who helped US forces appears impossible, given that he is not planning to extend the deadline for withdrawal past Tuesday. His talk of carrying on trying to get America’s friends out after US troops leave seemed to confirm he understands the impossibility of wrapping up that mission in four days. But getting Afghans out of the country without having US forces there will be even harder.

Secondly, Biden’s capacity to strike back hard at ISIS-K is going to be far more difficult without US troops on the ground, or anywhere close to Afghanistan. His promise will be a first real test of what he calls “over the horizon” capabilities, presumably using air power or drones armed with missiles, to ensure that Afghanistan does not again become a terror haven that could threaten US security. It also means US operations in the country are not ending, but are changing.
“We may be leaving Afghanistan. We are not quitting Afghanistan, the terror struggle and the counter-terrorism effort continues,” CNN national security, intelligence and terrorism analyst Juliette Kayyem said on Thursday evening.

Biden to Kabul attackers: 'We will hunt you down and make you pay'
Biden to Kabul attackers: ‘We will hunt you down and make you pay’
If nothing else, the attacks exemplified the dilemma Biden faced when he was asked by allies to extend the deadline. By leaving, he may be unable to bring every Ameri

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