US President Joe Biden arrived at Dover Air Force Base Sunday to honor members of the military who died in a suicide bomb attack during the evacuation of civilians from Afghanistan last week.
A suicide bombing by the Islamic State on Thursday killed dozens of Afghans and 13 American soldiers guarding the Kabul airport amid an airlift that has evacuated about 114,400 people in the past two weeks.
US forces launched a military strike in the Afghan capital on Sunday against a possible suicide car bomb, US officials said.
“We are in a period of grave danger given what we are seeing in intelligence,” Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN’s “State of the Union” program in an interview broadcast Sunday before will be informed about the last strike.
“We are taking all possible steps under the direction of the president to ensure that our forces are protected on the ground even as they complete their mission to bring in the remaining US citizens and Afghan allies.”
Biden, a Democrat, faced criticism from Republican lawmakers, who accused his administration of spoiling the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan After arriving at the base in Delaware, Biden and his wife, Jill, met with the families of service members killed in the attack.
They observed flag-covered boxes carrying the remains of 11 service members being loaded into vans. Crying sounds were heard and a woman collapsed and was taken to an ambulance. After the event, a woman let out cries of anguish.
The remains of two more soldiers will be transferred in an event not covered by the media at the request of their relatives Thursday’s attack, which was claimed by ISIS-K, the Islamic State’s Afghan affiliate, was the deadliest incident for US service members in Afghanistan in a decade.
The bombing took place outside the airport gates, where thousands of people have gathered to try to get a flight out of the South Asian nation since the Taliban returned to power on August 15.