By AAMER MADHANI, Associated Press
DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. (AP) — President Joe Biden met in solemn privateness Sunday with the households of the 13 U.S. troops killed in the suicide assault close to the Kabul airport and have become the fourth commander in chief to bear witness because the stays of the fallen returned to U.S. soil from Afghanistan.
First woman Jill Biden joined the president at Dover Air Force Base to grieve with family members because the “dignified transfer” of stays unfolded, a navy ritual for these killed in international fight.
The useless ranged in age from 20 to 31, and got here from California and Massachusetts and states in between. They embody a 20-year-old Marine from Wyoming who had been anticipating his first baby in three weeks and a 22-year-old Navy corpsman who in his final FaceTime dialog together with his mom assured her that he would keep secure as a result of “my guys got me.”
Five had been simply 20, born not lengthy earlier than the assaults of Sept. 11, 2001, that spurred the United States to invade Afghanistan in order to topple al-Qaida and dismantle their Taliban hosts who dominated the nation.
At their deaths, the 13 younger service members had been on the bottom for the U.S. coda to its longest conflict, helping a chaotic evacuation of Americans and of Afghans who helped the U.S. conflict effort and at the moment are fleeing the Taliban after their return to energy.
“The 13 service members that we lost were heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice in service of our highest American ideals and while saving the lives of others,” Biden mentioned in an announcement Saturday. “Their bravery and selflessness has enabled more than 117,000 people at risk to reach safety thus far.”
Family members of the fallen usually journey to Dover to be current as flag-draped switch circumstances are taken off the transport airplane that returns them to American soil.
Aside from the quiet instructions of honor guards who carry the switch circumstances, the brief prayers of the chaplain sometimes are the one phrases spoken throughout the ritual.
Biden’s three most up-to-date predecessors as presidents all attended such dignified transfers. It was Biden’s first time participating in the ritual as president, however he has been right here earlier than.
Biden attended a dignified switch for 2 U.S. troopers killed in a suicide blast at Bagram Airfield in the ultimate months of his vice presidency in 2016. In 2008, whereas a senator and on the request of the grieving household, he attended one for a soldier killed in a automobile bombing in Iraq. Biden instructed CBS’ “Face the Nation” that he had to get permission from the Pentagon to attend the switch.
The 13 troops who died in Kabul had been the primary U.S. service members killed in Afghanistan since February 2020. That was when the Trump administration reached an settlement with the Taliban that known as for the militant group to halt assaults on Americans in trade for a U.S. dedication to take away all American troops and contractors by May 2021. Biden introduced in April that he would have all forces out by September.
Eleven of the 13 Americans killed had been Marines. One was a Navy sailor and one an Army soldier.
Associated Press writers Lolita C. Baldor, Robert Burns and Matt Sedensky contributed to this report.
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