While some prayed for the safety of American troops and diplomats in the immediate aftermath of the attack, other Republicans did not wait for more information about what happened before putting the blame squarely on Biden.
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby confirmed that the explosions “resulted in a number of US and civilian casualties.” CNN reported earlier that US personnel were among the wounded.
Biden has noted that the US withdrawal was set in motion by former President Donald Trump’s deal with the Taliban, and vowed to not pass on a war entering its 20th year to a fifth US president.
But Republicans quickly expressed their outrage at the White House Thursday after the attack on Americans. House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to bring Congress back into session “so that we can be briefed thoroughly and comprehensively by the Biden Administration” and pass a bill to prohibit the withdrawal of any more troops “until every American is out of Afghanistan.”
Many in the GOP renewed their calls to postpone the August 31 evacuation date. Idaho Sen. Jim Risch, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Affairs committee, said the “Taliban and its terrorist contemporaries clearly don’t care about our deadlines or our people left in the country. They have what they want, which is an America and a NATO in disarray and retreat.”
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said this should prompt US military to retake Bagram Air Base north of Kabul and run evacuation flights from there.
“I urge the Biden Administration to reestablish our presence in Bagram as an alternative to the Kabul airport so that we do not leave our fellow citizens and thousands of Afghan allies behind. It is not a capability problem, but a problem of will,” Graham tweeted.
CNN’s Kristin Wilson, Kevin Liptak and Annie Grayer contributed to this report.