U.S. President Joe Biden arrived at Dover Air Force Base on Sunday to honor members of the military killed in a suicide bomb attack during the evacuation of civilians from Afghanistan last week.
An Islamic State suicide bombing on Thursday killed scores of Afghans and 13 American troops who were guarding Kabul’s airport amid an airlift that has evacuated about 114,400 people in the past two weeks.
American forces launched a military strike in the Afghan capital on Sunday targeting a possible suicide car bomb, U.S. officials said.
“We are in a period of serious danger given what we are seeing in the intelligence,” Biden’s national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, told CNN’s “State of the Union” program in an interview broadcast on Sunday, before the latest strike was reported.
“We are taking every possible measure at the direction of the president to ensure that our forces are protected on the ground even as they complete their mission of bringing in the remaining American citizens and Afghan allies.”
Biden, a Democrat, faced criticism from Republican lawmakers, who accused his administration of bungling the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.
After arriving at the base in Delaware, Biden and his wife, Jill, met with the families of service members killed in the attack.
They watched as flag-draped cases carrying 11 service members’ remains were loaded into vans. The sounds of crying could be heard and one woman collapsed and was taken to an ambulance. After the event, a woman let out anguished screams.
The remains of two more service members will be transferred in an event not covered by media at the request of their families.
Thursday’s attack, which was claimed by ISIS-K, the Afghan affiliate of Islamic State, was the most lethal incident for U.S. service members in Afghanistan in a decade.
The bombing took place just outside the gates of the airport, where thousands of people have gathered to try to get a flight out of the South Asian nation since the Taliban returned to power on Aug. 15.