Abdul Rahman al-Logari was named as the ISIS suicide bomber who killed 12 American service members in Kabul, Afghanistan, according to a tweet by Rita Katz, of Site Intelligence Group, which is well-known for its online efforts tracking terrorist groups.
Katz wrote on Twitter, “The ‘Amaq report states the fighter’s name is ‘Abdul Rahman al-Logari,’ and that he was able to get within five meters of American troops who were processing the documents of allied contractors and translators.” Some gave his name as Abdulrahman al-Logari.
Read a roundup of tributes and photos of all of the 13 American service members who died here.
U.S. General Kenneth McKenzie, speaking in a news conference on August 26, 2021, confirmed that 12 American service members were killed in the blast at Kabul airport, and another 15 American service members were wounded. Multiple Afghan civilian casualties were also reported; a second blast took place near a hotel.
President Biden said in a news conference that the dead service members were “standing guard at the airport…These American service members who gave their lives are… heroes.. engaged in the selfless mission to save the lives of others.”
Biden said, “We will not be deterred by terrorists… we will continue the evacuation.” He said that ISIS-K leadership and facilities will be attacked. More than 100,000 people were “taken to safety in the last 11 days. In the last 12 hours or so, another 7,000 have gotten out,” he said. “These ISIS terrorists will not win. We will rescue the Americans who are there…America will not be intimidated.”
He called those who died “part of the bravest, most capable and selfless military on the face of the earth.. the backbone of America, the spine of America, the best the country has to offer. Jill and I, our hearts ache for all those Afghan families who lost loved ones, including small children, in this vicious attack. We’re outraged.”
Biden brought up his deceased son Beau, who served in Iraq, saying, Beau Biden “was diagnosed with an aggressive and lethal cancer of the brain. We have some sense like many of you do what the families of these brave heroes are feeling today. Feeling like you’re being sucked into a black hole in the middle of your chest. There’s no way out. My heart aches for you.”
He continued, “We have a continued obligation, a sacred obligation to all of you, the families of those heroes. The obligation is not temporary, it lasts for ever. They were lives given in the service of liberty, in security, in the service of others, in the service of America.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. ISIS Claimed Responsibility for the Attack, Katz Wrote
Katz tweeted that ISIS has now officially claimed responsibility for the attack. “#ISIS has now issued an official claim for the attack from its Khorasan Province,” she wrote. Site Intel Group wrote that “ISKP Claims Attack Near Hamid Karzai Airport.” ISKP stands for Islamic State Khorasan Province.
According to a report on ISKP from Stimson.org, writing on August 6, 2021, “Recent ISKP attacks have attained a new level of notoriety at a time when the group is assumed to be significantly weakened after it was pushed out of its bastions in eastern Afghanistan and with the arrests and or killings of its top leaders. However, ISKP remains capable of executing high profile attacks in the national capital Kabul with alarming lethality and sophistication.”
McKenzie also said that 15 American service members were wounded.
“We have put as many as 5,000 US service members at risk… it’s a noble mission. We have seen how dangerous it is. ISIS won’t deter us,” from completing the mission, he said.
The dead include 11 Marines and one Navy Medic, according to Fox News correspondent Jennifer Griffin.
John Kirby, the Pentagon Press Secretary, confirmed in a statement that “a number of U.S. service members were killed in today’s complex attack at Kabul airport. A number of others are being treated for wounds. We also know that a number of Afghans fell victim to this heinous attack. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the loved ones and teammates of all those killed and injured.” He did not release a number of fatalities.
2. The U.S. Embassy Had Warned of Airport Threats by ISIS
The deaths come the day after the U.S. Embassy warned stranded Americans not to go to the Hamid Karzai International Airport because of threats from ISIS, the Wall Street Journal reported the day before the attacks tore through the city.
“U.S. citizens who are at the Abbey Gate, East Gate, or North Gate now should leave immediately,” the alert said. according to the Journal. Officials have been warning that members of the Afghan branch of the Islamic State extremist group were trying to mount an attack on military personnel or civilians at the airport.
3. The Bombing Occurred at the Gate Where Service Members Were Physically Screening People Seeking to Enter the Airport, the General Said
McKenzie provided some details of how the attack unfolded.
“We are still investigating the exact circumstances. The attack occurred at a gate. At the gate we have to check people before they get onto the airfield. We have to make sure they aren’t carrying a bomb,” said McKenzie.
That required physical screening, he said.
In a news conference, McKenzie said that officials believe there are a little more than 1,000 US citizens still in Afghanistan. He said that “not everybody wants to leave…yesterday we brought in over 500 American citizens.”
There are unusual challenges and competing demands, he said. “Threat to our forces from ISIS=K is very real as we have seen today,” the general said. He said over 104,000 people have been screened.
4. The General Says the ISIS Threat Is Ongoing & ‘Extremely Real’
He said the threat from ISIS “is extremely real. We’ve been talking about this for several days… we believe it is their desire (ISIS) to continue those attacks. We expect those attacks to continue.” The U.S. is reaching out to the Taliban, he said.
“We are continuing to bring people onto the airfield,” he said. “we will continue to process, to float people out…We will coordinate very carefully.”
He said there are additional imminent threat “strings,” including the threat of rocket attacks.
“Our mission remains. We are still committed to flowing people out…” McKenzie repeated.
If we can find “who is associated with this, we will go after them,” he said.
“We are working to determine attribution… we are prepared to take action. 24/7, we are looking for them.”
The Taliban’s spokesman, who has an active Twitter page, wrote, “The Islamic Emirate strongly condemns the bombing of civilians at Kabul airport, which took place in an area where US forces are responsible for security. The Islamic Emirate is paying close attention to the security and protection of its people, and evil circles will be strictly stopped.”
5. Political Criticism Erupted
Donald Trump Jr., the former president’s son, was among strong criticism erupting against former President Joe Biden among conservatives. He wrote, “So are we talking about impeachment yet? Asking for a friend who was impeached for a phone call but definitely wouldn’t strand thousands of American Civilians behind terrorist enemy lines! #BidenDisaster.” Some on the left have criticized former President Donald Trump for making a peace deal with the Taliban.
He also retweeted a post from John Parnell, a combat veteran and Republican Senate candidate, who wrote, “All of the horror we are seeing right now in Afghanistan is on @JoeBiden. The panicked surrender. The absurdity of relying on the Taliban to help evac our people. The betrayal of our citizens & our allies. The tragic loss of life. Everything. It didn’t have to be this way.”