Biden vows to finish Kabul evacuation, avenge US deaths

International

President Joe Biden speaks about the bombings at the Kabul airport that killed at least 12 U.S. service members, from the East Room of the White House, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden said the United States will complete its evacuation of Americans and others from Kabul, despite the attack that killed at least 13 U.S. service members and many Afghan civilians.

Afghans walk through a security barrier as they enter Pakistan through a common border crossing point in Chaman, Pakistan, Friday, Aug. 27, 2021. Hundreds of Pakistanis and Afghans cross the border daily through Chaman to visit relatives, receive medical treatment and for business-related activities. Pakistani has not placed any curbs on their movement despite recent evacuations from Kabul. (AP Photo/Jafar Khan)

The White House said Friday that another 12,500 people had been evacuated over the past 24 hours.

Biden vowed to avenge the deaths, saying the U.S. will hunt down the perpetrators.

Continuing the evacuation means Biden risks more deaths, but the alternative would be an early end to the pullout and leaving Americans behind.

As many as 1,000 Americans and many more Afghans are still struggling to get out.

Evacuation flights from Afghanistan have resumed with new urgency, a day after two suicide bombings targeted the thousands of people desperately fleeing a Taliban takeover and killed more than 100. The U.S. warned more attacks could come ahead of next week’s end to America’s longest war.

Afghans carry the dead body of an Afghan at a hospital after deadly attacks outside the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, Aug. 27, 2021. Two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of Afghans flocking to Kabul’s airport Thursday, transforming a scene of desperation into one of horror in the waning days of an airlift for those fleeing the Taliban takeover. (AP Photo/Wali Sabawoon)

The U.N. refugee agency is gearing up for as many as half a million people or more to flee from Afghanistan in a “worst-case scenario” in the coming months.

UNHCR said the situation in Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover last week “remains uncertain and may evolve rapidly,” with up to 515,000 new refugees fleeing.

The agency said on Friday that it would add to the 2.2 million Afghans who already are registered as refugees abroad — nearly all of them in Pakistan and Iran.

The agency cited estimates that 558,000 people have been internally displaced within Afghanistan due to armed conflict this year alone.

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