Today’s bombings around the Kabul airport were a devastating reminder of the dangerous conditions in which our servicemembers and diplomats are operating as we conclude the United States’ 20-year military mission in Afghanistan. As the President said, the servicemembers who were killed and wounded today are heroes. They put their lives on the line to defend our civilian personnel, the civilian personnel of our allies and partners, and Americans, third-country nationals, and Afghans seeking safety. To date, more than 100,000 people have been safely evacuated from Kabul – a testament to the bravery, skill, and determination of all those who are contributing to this vital mission. We grieve those we lost today. And we express our most heartfelt condolences to their loved ones.
We also grieve the loss of Afghans gathered near the airport hoping for a chance to start a new life elsewhere. And we honor the more than 2,300 U.S. servicemembers who have died in Afghanistan since 2001, the more than 20,000 who have been wounded, and the more than 800,000 who have served in America’s longest war, as well as other Americans killed or wounded in the conflict.
Around the world, U.S. Marines protect American embassies and diplomats. They put themselves in harm’s way so that we can do our jobs on behalf of the American people. Even after the attack, they are doing that right now in Kabul, as they are in so many other parts of the world. And they will continue to do so as we complete this mission.
We at the State Department feel an extraordinary debt of gratitude to them, today and every day.