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May 18, 2022

Afghanistan updates: US begins withdrawing troops after airstrike

Afghanistan updates: US begins withdrawing troops after airstrike


The U.S. said the target was not directly connected to Thursday’s bombing.

Last Updated: August 28, 2021, 5:26 PM ET

Chaos has enveloped Kabul after Afghanistan’s government collapsed and the Taliban seized control, all but ending America’s 20-year campaign as it began: under Taliban rule.

Officials said the terror group ISIS-K carried out what the Pentagon called a “complex attack” outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on Thursday, killing at least 13 American service members and wounding 20, among scores of Afghan casualties.

When President Joe Biden sat down with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos for an exclusive one-on-one interview at the White House last week, the president’s first interview since the withdrawal from Afghanistan, he warned of the threat of attacks on the ground.

The Department of Homeland Security is warning that the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan could lead to a “surge in radicalization” of violent extremists at home, according to a new intelligence notice obtained by ABC News.

In the report issued confidentially to law enforcement Friday, intelligence analysts said that would-be domestic and foreign terrorists “likely are attempting to exploit” the withdrawal and “deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan to inspire attacks and recruit like-minded extremists online.”

“In recent weeks, violent extremist messaging has praised the Taliban for its decades-long fight against perceived US oppression and has called for adopting Taliban-type tactics in the Homeland,” the report said.

Should the Taliban remain in control of Afghanistan, DHS anticipates a resulting “surge in radicalization of US-based violent extremists and probably contribute to increased support for foreign terrorist organizations in the United States, including facilitation activities and attempted travel to Afghanistan,” the report said.

-ABC News’ Josh Margolin

President Joe Biden issued a statement after meeting with his National Security Team on Saturday, saying another attack soon at the airport was “highly likely” and that the airstrike that killed two ISIS-K targets Friday night won’t be the last.

“The threat of terrorist attacks on the airport remains high. Our commanders informed me that an attack is highly likely in the next 24 to 36 hours,” Biden said, noting that he told military leaders to take “every possible measure” to prioritize protecting service members.

He also touted the airstrike, adding, “This strike was not the last. We will continue to hunt down any person involved in that heinous attack and make them pay.”

-ABC News’ Molly Nagle

The Defense Department has named the 13 service members who died on Thursday in an enemy attack while supporting non-combatant evacuation operations in Kabul.

Those killed included 11 Marines, as well as an Army soldier and a Navy medic, U.S. officials said.

Here’s what we know about those fallen members.

About 300 Americans were evacuated from Afghanistan over the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 5,400 U.S. citizens since Aug. 14, according to a State Department spokesperson.

The spokesperson said there are approximately 350 U.S. citizens confirmed to be in Afghanistan who are seeking to leave. However, some may have already left the country. U.S. teams are in touch with all of them.

“We believe that some of these people are nearly or already out of the country,” the spokesperson said.

Further, an additional 280 or so U.S. citizens are in touch with the State Department and either want to stay in Afghanistan or have not informed the government of plans to leave the country. This is the first time officials have given a number for this group of citizens.

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