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McConnell, Yarmuth respond to Kabul attack, evacuation efforts

President Joe Biden said Thursday the U.S. will continue the evacuation and 'will not be deterred by terrorists.'

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of people in Kabul Thursday, killing at least 12 U.S. troops and 60 Afghans.

U.S. officials said 11 Marines and one Navy medic were among those who died. More than 140 Afghans were wounded, an Afghan official confirmed.

President Joe Biden said Thursday evening the U.S. will continue the evacuation and "will not be deterred by terrorists." Biden said he has ordered commanders to "develop operational plans to strike ISIS-K assets, leadership and facilities."

"These ISIS terrorists will not win," Biden said. "We will rescue the Americans in there, we will get our Afghan allies out and our mission will go on. America will not be intimidated."

Biden said his heart aches for the families of service members killed in the attack and said the U.S. will "hunt down" those responsible and make them pay.

"We will find them, and we will get them," Biden said.

Kentucky and Indiana lawmakers have been weighing in on evacuation efforts and the attack that killed American service members. Senator Mitch McConnell said in a statement he is sickened and enraged by the news of the attack.

"Terrible things happen when terrorists are allowed to operate freely," McConnell said. "I remain concerned that terrorists worldwide will be emboldened by our retreat, by this attack, and by the establishment of a radical Islamic terror state in Afghanistan. We need to redouble our global efforts to confront these barbarian enemies who want to kill Americans and attack our homeland."

McConnell is one of the few Republicans who advocated for staying in Afghanistan. His colleague Rand Paul did not agree, saying he believes it was time for the U.S. to get out of Afghanistan.

Paul said Wednesday "the thing that's most upsetting" about the evacuation is that the U.S. could be leaving equipment that could fall into the wrong hands.

Paul released a statement Thursday afternoon saying he was "deeply saddened by the further loss of life as our military returns home from Afghanistan."

"Kelley and I pray for those lost and wounded, and for the safe and speedy rescue of all Americans still trapped," Paul said in a tweet.

Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana said the attack were "a result of [Biden's] incompetence and decision to trust the Taliban to protect our troops."

Rep. André Carson, one of only two Democrats representing districts in Indiana, said the "heartbreaking" attack "further prove that getting our troops out of harm's way in Afghanistan is the right thing to do."

John Yarmuth, Kentucky's only Democrat on Capitol Hill, said he does not expect the U.S. to be out of Afghanistan by Aug. 31 as previously planned due to Thursday's attack.

"This incident probably delays some of the removal activities because it creates more confusion at the entrance to the airport so I think it's unlikely," Yarmuth said. "I'm glad that President Biden, even when he said he was going to hold to the Aug. 31 date, asked for contingency plans and I suspect that we'll see those contingency plans implemented."

RELATED: 'We will hunt you down': Biden vows to avenge US deaths, continue Kabul evacuation

RELATED: Kabul airport attack kills 60 Afghans, 12 US troops

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