KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Twelve U.S. service members, including 11 Marines and a Navy medic, died Thursday in an attack outside the Hamid Karzai Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan.
The deaths are the first U.S. service members casualties as part of Operation Freedom's Sentinel in 2021.
Ninety-four service members deployed as part of Operation Freedom's Sentinel, which was launched in January 2015, have been killed during the last 6 1/2 years, including 64 classified as “hostile deaths,” according to the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Casualty Analysis System.
Since the start of Operation Freedom's Sentinel:
- 21 service members died in 2015, including 10 in combat;
- 10 service members died in 2016, including nine in combat;
- 14 service members died in 2017, including 11 in combat;
- 15 service members died in 2018, including 13 in combat;
- 23 service members died in 2019, including 17 in combat;
- 11 service members died in 2020, including four in combat.
Operation Freedom's Sentinel is the name given to the continuing U.S. military operations in Afghanistan after the end of Operation Enduring Freedom, which launched Oct. 7, 2001, and officially ended Dec. 28, 2014.
A total of 2,349 U.S. service members were killed during Operation Enduring Freedom, including 1,845 in combat. Another 20,149 were wounded in action.
Lawmakers from Kansas and Missouri weighed in the hours after the attack and news of the casualties. Here is what they had to say:
Our nation is forever indebted to the brave Marines who made the ultimate sacrifice today. And we remember as well the innocent Afghanis who needlessly perished. Joe Biden has now overseen the deadliest day for US troops in Afghanistan in over a decade, and the crisis grows worse by the hour. We must reject the falsehood peddled by a feckless president that this was the only option for withdrawal. This is the product of Joe Biden’s catastrophic failure of leadership. It is now painfully clear he has neither the will nor the capacity to lead. He must resign.
Today, the United States tragically lost a number of U.S. service members in the attacks outside of the Kabul airport. I am praying for their families, for those who were injured, and for the safety of all of our troops, allies, and Afghan partners who are in harm’s way.
What we are seeing is the result of a poor plan poorly executed. The Biden administration must use every resource it has available to get Americans and our allies to safety.
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, D-Mo.
Heartbreaking to see this morning’s reprehensible attack in Kabul took the lives of several American service members and innocent Afghans.
Praying for the families of the fallen and forever grateful for their service.
I’m closely following news of the devastating attacks near the Kabul airport and deeply saddened to learn of the servicemembers and civilians who were killed. My thoughts are with their families.
We must secure the safety of our people and allies as soon as possible.
It’s difficult to overstate the courage and humanity our service members in Afghanistan have shown in this impossible situation the President has put them in. I pray for their safety.
Today’s explosions outside Kabul’s airport underscored the necessity for a thorough and well-thought-out withdrawal plan to ensure the safety and security of Americans in Afghanistan.
But President Biden disregarded intelligence, lied to the nation on this reality, and put our citizens who are stranded in Afghanistan in grave danger. This administration has shown incompetence at every stage of this catastrophe and should be held accountable for the lives they have put at risk.
Our troops in Kabul are not only risking their lives to help evacuate American citizens and our allies but they are also bringing much-needed humanity to this crisis.
Join me in praying for the safety of our brave service men and women on the ground.
Mayor Quinton Lucas, D-Kansas City, Mo.
I am very sorry to hear of the loss of life of Americans and Afghans today in Kabul. I pray that we can get American citizens and service women and men home and our Afghan friends safely to our shores.
Sending prayers to all U.S. troops, citizens, allies, and innocent people affected by the attacks outside of the Kabul airport.
Today’s horrific events in Afghanistan were a completely preventable disaster. Pres. Biden’s aloof approach to this withdrawal has been disgraceful & the lives lost today fall squarely at his feet. After 4 years of military strength, we are seeing the consequences of elections...
Horrific news out of Kabul. I’m closely monitoring the situation and praying for the safety of all our servicemembers, U.S. citizens and Afghan allies as the situation in Kabul becomes more dire.