We lost. Like many of you, we feel what the families of these brave heroes feel today. You will get this feeling as if it is being absorbed into the black hole in the middle of your chest. There is no way out. My heart aches for you, I know this: we continue to owe you, the families of those heroes, a sacred duty. That obligation is not temporary. It will last forever.
The lives we lost today are lives given in the service of freedom, security service and others. In the service of the United States. Like fellow brethren who have died defending our vision and our values in the fight against terrorism, as they have fallen today, they are part of the great noble organization of American heroes.
Anyone who has carried out this attack and harmed the United States knows this: we will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay. At my command I will protect our interests and people in every action.
For the past few weeks — I know many of you are tired of hearing what I have to say — our intelligence has informed us that ISIS-K, the arch-enemy of the Taliban, is a liberated person in both of those prisons. Unlocked, the United States is planning complex attacks on individuals and others. This is why from the beginning I kept saying over and over again that this task was extraordinarily dangerous, and why I was determined to limit the duration of this task.
Understand the capture of the Taliban in Afghanistan
Who are the Taliban? The Taliban erupted in 1994 amid unrest following the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan in 1989. They used brutal public punishments to enforce their rules. More here Their origin and their record as rulers.
As a general. [Kenneth F.] McKenzie said this is why our mission is designed to function, to act in extreme stress and aggression. We knew it from the beginning. Because I was in constant contact with our senior military leaders – I was constantly, all the time on the clock – and throughout the day our commanders, they could we, we had to finish this mission, we would do it. That’s what I ordered them to do.
We will not be deterred by extremists. We will not let our work stop. We will continue the evacuation. I have also instructed my commanders to develop action plans to attack ISIS-K assets, leadership and facilities. In our time, we will respond with strength and precision wherever we choose and when we choose.
Here’s what you need to know: These ISIS terrorists will not win. We will rescue the Americans there. We will expel our Afghan allies and our work will continue. I have great faith in the Americans, our partners, and our courageous service members who are leaving Afghanistan, who will continue to do this work with courage and respect to save lives that will not be intimidated by the United States.
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