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Joe Biden has promised to “hunt down” the terrorists responsible for the terrorist attack outside Kabul airport that saw 12 US troops and dozens of Afghan civilians killed.
In an address to the American people, the US president told those behind the suicide bombings: “We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay.”
The comments raise questions over Biden’s self-imposed March 31 deadline for US troops to leave Afghanistan.
The US death toll during Thursday’s attack made it the deadliest single incident for American forces in Afghanistan in a decade and one of the deadliest of the entire 20-year war.
Afghan health officials were quoted as saying 60 civilians died, but it was not clear whether that was a complete count.
The so-called Islamic State (IS), which has emerged in Afghanistan as enemies both of the West and the Taliban, claimed responsibility in a statement in which it said one of its suicide bombers targeted “translators and collaborators with the American army”.
In the press conference, Biden blamed the affiliate of IS - known as Isis-K – for the attack. He said the US intelligence community has assessed that the attack was carried out by Isis-K.
He said: “The intelligence community has assessed… an attack by a group known as Isis-K took the lives of American service members standing guard at the airport and wounded several others seriously.”
He added: “With regard to finding, tracking down, the Isis leaders who ordered this, we have some reason to believe we know who they are, we are not certain, and we will find ways of our choosing, without large military operations, to get them wherever they are.”
He vowed to complete the evacuation of American citizens and others from Afghanistan despite the blasts.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.