ORLANDO, Fla. – As the deadline President Joe Biden set for removing American citizens and troops from Afghanistan approaches, at least 12 U.S. service members were killed in attacks outside the Kabul airport Thursday.
Two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of Afghans flocking to the airport, according to the Associated Press, killing 11 Marines and one Navy medic.
American officials have said that information is still coming in and they are trying to determine the exact numbers of casualties.
A number of U.S. allies said they were ending their evacuation efforts in Kabul, at least in part to give the U.S. the time it needs to wrap up its evacuation operations before getting more than 5,000 U.S. troops out by Tuesday, the self-imposed deadline made by the U.S.
Western officials had also warned of a major attack, urging people to leave the airport, according to the AP.
Central Florida leaders have reacted to the news of the deadly explosions in Afghanistan. Here are their responses:
Rep. Mike Waltz represents Flagler and Volusia Counties and parts of Lake County. A U.S. Army veteran, Waltz served in Afghanistan. Following the attack, he tweeted out a series of steps he believes the Biden administration needs to take.
The current situation in Kabul is dire and Biden needs to move decisively to alleviate the situation:— Rep. Mike Waltz (@michaelgwaltz) August 26, 2021
“Our hearts and prayers go out to those American families who likely lost a loved one, or had a loved one injured in that event,” Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said.
Casey and I are praying for the families of the fallen U.S. Marines and for the safety of our service members, fellow citizens, and Afghan allies in Kabul. Our troops are doing heroic work under dangerous circumstances and they deserve our continued admiration.— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) August 26, 2021
The images out of Kabul today are horrifying. Pray for our troops. Pray for the innocent Americans and Afghans targeted by this attack.— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) August 26, 2021
President Biden must immediately and forcefully respond to protect Americans and safely complete the evacuation. #AfghanistanCrisis
Praying for our troops, U.S. citizens and allies in Afghanistan. https://t.co/KdJe6wXgQH— Daniel Webster (@RepWebster) August 26, 2021
...we get each and every American out of the country. Anything less is unacceptable. Please join me in praying for everyone as this situation evolves.— Congresswoman Kat Cammack (@RepKatCammack) August 26, 2021
Our office is continuing to evacuate Americans from Afghanistan and will not stop until everyone reaches American soil.
Praying for the families of our fallen service members and all our military and others in harm's way. https://t.co/ocjjSfgcG8— Sheriff John Mina (@SheriffMina) August 26, 2021
ISIS-K attack horrifying— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 26, 2021
And they are planning more
Making the already impossible rescue by 31 August of all Americans stranded in Afghanistan even more impossible
My prayers are with the families and team members of the U.S. Service Members killed and injured in the line of duty today. Those we lost today will not be forgotten, and we will do all in our power to ensure the recovery of the wounded.— Rep. Val Demings (@RepValDemings) August 26, 2021