The remains of 13 US service members killed in a suicide bombing at Bagram Air Base near Kabul, Afghanistan, were returned to Dover Air Force Base, Delaware on Thursday.
On Thursday, the soldiers were killed in a bomb assault (Picture: Reuters; Getty; AP)
The bodies of 13 American military personnel who were murdered in a suicide attack near Kabul Airport on Thursday have been repatriated to the United States.
President Joe Biden, together with First Lady Jill Biden, were there as the aircraft bringing them home landed.
Following the ‘dignified transfer’ of remains, a military rite for soldiers killed in foreign action, he visited with the families of those who perished in private to mourn with them for their lost ones.
The deceased were between the ages of 20 and 31, and hailed from all over the country, including California, Massachusetts, and other places in between.
They include a 20-year-old Marine from Wyoming who was due to give birth in three weeks and a 22-year-old Navy corpsman who promised his mother in his final FaceTime chat that he would be safe because “my men got me.”
Five of them were just 20 years old at the time of the September 11th attacks, which prompted the United States to invade Afghanistan.
The explosion at Kabul’s airport on Aug. 26 killed 12 military personnel. Sgt. Nicole L. Gee, 23, of Roseville, California, is not shown. (Photo courtesy of AP)
During a casualty return at Dover Air Force Base today, a carry crew puts the transfer container carrying the remains of Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui, 20, of Norco, California, into the transfer truck (Picture: AP)
All 13 were on the ground to aid in the evacuation of Americans and Afghans who assisted in the US military effort and are now fleeing the Taliban after they retook control.
‘The 13 military people we lost were heroes who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service of our greatest American values and while saving the lives of others,’ Mr Biden said in a statement.
‘Thanks to their courage and selflessness, more than 117,000 individuals in danger have reached safety so far.’
Families of the fallen often come to Dover Air Force Base to see the flag-draped transfer cases being loaded onto the transport aircraft that will carry them home.
The chaplain’s brief prayers are usually the only words uttered throughout the ceremony, apart from the silent orders of honour guards who carry the transfer cases.
Mr. Biden’s three most recent predecessors in the White House all attended such solemn ceremonies.
Mr. Biden was participating in the rite for the first time as president, although he had previously attended.
In the last months of his vice presidency in 2016, Mr. Biden attended a solemn transfer for two US troops killed in a suicide bombing at Bagram Airfield.
He attended one for a soldier murdered in a vehicle bombing in Iraq in 2008 while a senator, at the request of the bereaved family.
Mr. Biden told CBS’ Face The Nation that he needed Pentagon clearance to attend the transfer.
The 13 soldiers slain in Kabul were the first US servicemen killed in Afghanistan since February of this year.
That’s when Trump’s government struck a deal with the Taliban, in which the terrorist organization agreed to stop attacking Americans in return for a promise from the US to withdraw all US soldiers and contractors by May 2021.
Mr. Biden said in April that all troops would be gone by September.
Marines made up 11 of the 13 Americans slain. One was an Army soldier and the other was a Navy sailor.
Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, 20, of Jackson, Wyoming; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz, 20, of Wentzville, Missouri; Navy Hospital Corpsman Max Soviak, of Berlin Heights, Ohio; Marine Corps Cpl. Hunter Lopez, 22, of Indio, California; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui, 20, of Norco, California; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. David Espinoza, 20, of Rio Bravo, Texas;
A total of 170 Afghans were murdered in the suicide bombing, including British father Mohammad Niazi, his wife, and two children. He’d come to the nation to assist his family in escaping.
The US claimed today that it has struck Isis-K in order to prevent another suicide attack at the airport.
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