WATERSMEET, Mich. — Thirteen U.S. troops and more than 60 Afghans were killed Thursday after two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of people heading toward Kabul’s airport, according to U.S. officials.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, which led to the deadliest day for American troops in Afghanistan in a decade.
As the chaotic evacuation from Afghanistan turns deadly, GOP lawmakers are slamming President Joe Biden’s “lack of leadership" and pointing the blame at the president and his administration for not having a plan to evacuate all Americans and allies safely from the country.
“This is an absolute failure of leadership at the highest levels of the United States,” says U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman (R–Michigan), a retired U.S. Marine Corps. lieutenant general.
Bergman says American deaths were avoidable but not unexpected given the chaotic last few weeks in Afghanistan as the Taliban takeover of the country commenced.“When you don't have leadership stepping up and leading and doing the right thing, unfortunately, negative outcomes like this can occur."
“I am dismayed to the point of being pissed at the president's lack of leadership, lack of intestinal fortitude, when it came to standing up to this group of thugs," Bergman added.
According to Bergman that "lack of leadership" is so brazen, it merits the resignation of top Biden administration officials.
"The failure of leadership from the Biden administration and Secretary [of State Antony] Blinken, that is unfathomable. I think it's time for them to reevaluate their commitment to the American people. And if they can't do it, we'll find someone who can," Bergman said while saying Blinken's next step should be to resign from office.
While Bergman says an American response to the attack should be a strong one, he wants U.S. troops to know their service is invaluable and the troops killed Thursday will not be forgotten.
"My gratitude and condolences to the families of those Marines and members of the military who were killed today. Those of us who served in uniform know that we go into harm's way as part of our commitment to serving our country and protecting our American citizens; my heart and prayers go out to you, and their deaths will not be in vain."
President Biden is sticking to a full withdrawal of U.S. troops by Aug. 31, but on Thursday vowed to hunt down the terrorists responsible for the bombing. "We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay."
As of Wednesday night, the U.S. State Department says 1,500 American citizens were still in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the White House has responded to resignation calls by Republican lawmakers by saying "it's not a day for politics."
Watch the full interview with Representative Bergman here: