The 13 American service members who died one year ago in the Abbey Gate terror attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, were remembered by President Joe Biden. Though he did not acknowledge the role he and his administration had in the chaotic and botched Afghanistan withdrawal, Biden called it a “heinous terrorist attack,” in a statement. “Our nation will forever mourn their sacrifice and honor the memory of those 13 precious souls, stolen from their families, loved ones, brothers- and sisters-in-arms far too soon while performing a noble mission on behalf of our Nation,” said Biden.

He then continued, saying: “They were heroes, working to save lives as part of the largest airlift evacuation operation in our history. The example of their bravery and selflessness will live forever as a testament to the very best of our American character.”

A year ago, the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban swept into the Afghan capital of Kabul following the collapse of the country’s elected government. The last member of the U.S. military left 15 days later, capping almost 20 tumultuous years of American involvement in the central Asian country, reported Fox News.

11 Marines, one Army soldier and a Navy corpsman were left dead in the 2021 terror attack outside Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport in Afghanistan, injuring 20 more service members and inflicting even more carnage on Afghan civilians.

As the Biden administration rushed to evacuate Americans and Afghan allies from the country, the service members were holding the airport, following a swift Taliban offensive reclaimed the country. For the suicide bombing, the ISIS-K terror group claimed responsibility, seeking to disrupt the massive evacuation effort of Americans, Afghan allies and third-party nationals outside the U.S.-held airport.

Biden highlighted military accomplishments in his statement on the anniversary of the attack, which were achieved since the deadly exit from Afghanistan. “In the wake of the horrific attack outside Kabul airport, we have redoubled our relentless global campaign against ISIS and other terrorists who threaten Americans. In February, we took out the global head of ISIS in Syria, and last month, in Kabul, we eliminated the leader of al-Qaeda,” said Biden.

“We now maintain pressure against terrorist threats without keeping thousands of troops in harm’s way on the ground in Afghanistan. And my Administration will continue to hunt down terrorists who seek to harm the United States, wherever they may be,” the president added.

Jake Sullivan, a National security adviser, speaking at the Aspen Security Forum, said watching the images of the withdrawal were “painful” and “difficult.” “One year later, I think the president feels that the decision that he made was the right decision for the American people and the right decision for how we can position ourselves to be the best and most effective contributor to the global public good across a range of issues involving a range of geographies,” said Sullivan.

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