Biden says another Kabul airport attack 'highly likely'

( USA Today )

President Joe Biden warned on Saturday that it was "highly likely" the Kabul airport -- the scene of an attack on Thursday that left nearly 200 people dead -- would see another attack in the next 24 to 36 hours.

The president's statement came the same day the Pentagon identified all 13 U.S. service members killed in the airport attack by ISIS-K and announced that a retaliatory drone strike on the group had killed two members and wounded one, up from the previous tally of one death.

The 13 service members included 11 Marines, one Navy corpsman and one Army soldier. At least 169 Afghans were also killed in the airport bombing, for which President Joe Biden had vowed revenge.

And with only three days left until Biden's Aug. 31 withdrawal, evacuations continued for Americans, Afghan allies and others seeking to escape the rule of the fundamentalist Taliban, even as many acknowledged the window to be airlifted out was closing.

Biden: Another Kabul airport attack 'highly likely'

Another attack on the Kabul airport is “highly likely” in the coming days, President Joe Biden warned on Saturday, as the U.S. continues to evacuate Americans and Afghans in a frantic scramble before the Aug. 31 withdrawal of all U.S. forces.

Biden also said the U.S. is likely to launch another attack against those involved in Thursday’s deadly suicide bombing, which left 13 American service members and 169 Afghans dead amid a chaotic evacuation effort at the Kabul airport. The Pentagon launched a retaliatory drone strike Friday night against Islamic State operatives.

“This strike was not the last,” Biden said in a statement on Saturday after meeting with his national security team. “We will continue to hunt down any person involved in that heinous attack and make them pay.”

The president said the situation on the ground in Afghanistan “continues to be extremely dangerous” and military commanders told him an attack on the airport “is highly likely in the next 24-36 hours.” He said he has directed Pentagon leaders to prioritize the protection of American troops.

“Despite the treacherous situation in Kabul, we are continuing to evacuate civilians,” Biden said, noting the U.S. military evacuated 6,800 people on Friday. “And today, we discussed the ongoing preparations to help people continue to leave Afghanistan after our military departs.”

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