Washington, U.S. | Xinhua | Twelve of the 13 U.S. service members killed in Thursday’s Kabul airport bombing were 9/11 babies, according to local media reports.
The Pentagon released their names and biographies on Saturday. They were born within a few years of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, which led the United States to launch two lengthy and painful wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“They never knew a United States that was not at war, never lived in the world before the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration, a country without ID checks in office buildings, metal detectors at schools, shoes X-rayed at the airport,” a Washington Post report lamented.
“Our generation of Marines has been listening to the Iraq/Afghan vets tell their war stories for years,” Mallory Harrison, a friend of 23-year-old Marine Corps Sgt. Nicole L. Gee, one of the 13 dead, wrote on Facebook.
“It’s easy for that war & those stories to sound like something so distant — something that you feel like you’re never going to experience since you joined the Marine Corps during peacetime,” Harrison said.
ISIS-K, a radical affiliate of the Islamic State active in Afghanistan, had claimed responsibility for the deadly attack on Thursday which also claimed some 170 Afghan lives outside the Kabul airport.
U.S. President Joe Biden warned on Saturday that another attack against the airport could be “highly likely in the next 24-36 hours.”
“The situation on the ground continues to be extremely dangerous, and the threat of terrorist attacks on the airport remains high,” Biden said in a statement.
Biden set Aug. 31 as the deadline to end the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan. Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said Saturday that the U.S. forces on the ground had begun to withdraw from the Kabul airport.
The White House said Saturday that around 111,900 people had left Afghanistan since Aug. 14.