Full Text of Biden's Speech on Kabul Attacks: 'We Will Not Forgive. We Will Not Forget'

President Joe Biden addressed the American public regarding the terrorist attack on Hamid Karzai International Airport on Thursday.

On August 26, 12 members of the U.S. service and nearly 60 Afghanistan civilians were killed during a bombing attack outside of Kabul's airport, according to the Pentagon and Afghanistan's Ministry of Public Health. These attacks come as the United States races to extract all Americans from Afghanistan by the August 31 deadline set by President Joe Biden.

Joe Biden
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting about cybersecurity in the East Room of the White House on August 25, 2021 in Washington, DC. On August 26, U.S. President Joe Biden Issued remarks on the Terror Attack on Hamid Karzai International Airport. Getty Images

Read President Joe Biden's full speech below:

As you all know, the terrorist attacks that we've been talking about and worried about within the intelligence community, was an undertaking attack by a group known as ISIS-K. They took the lives of American service members standing guard at the airport and wounded several others seriously. They also wounded a number of civilians, and civilians were killed as well. I've been engaged all day and in constant contact with the military commanders here in Washington, the Pentagon, as well as in Afghanistan and Doha. And my command here in Washington has been on this with great detail and you've had a chance to speak to some.

So far, the situation on the ground is still evolving. And I'm constantly being updated. These are American service members who gave their lives. It's an overused word, but it's totally appropriate here. These individuals were heroes. Heroes who have been engaged in a dangerous, selfless mission to save the lives of others are a part of an airlift and evacuation effort unlike any seen in history. With more than 100,000 American citizens, American partners, Afghans who helped us, and others, to safety.

In the last 11 days, just the last 12 hours or so, another 7,000 have got out. They were part of the bravest, most capable and most selfless military on the face of the earth. And they were part of simply what I call, the backbone of America. They're the spine of America. The best the country has to offer.

Jill and I, our hearts ache. Like I'm sure all of you do as well. For all those Afghan families who have lost loved ones including small children who were wounded during this vicious attack—and we're outraged, as well as heartbroken. Being the father of a Army Major who served a year in Iraq and before that, was in Kosovo as a U.S. Attorney for the better part of six months in the middle of a war. When he came home after a year, and in Iraq was diagnosed—like many, many coming home—with an aggressive and lethal cancer of the brain, who we lost. We have some sense like many of you do, what the families of these brave heroes are feeling today. You get this feeling like you've been sucked into a black hole. In your chest. There's no way out. My heart aches for you. And I know this. We have a continuing obligation. A sacred obligation to all of you. To the families of those heroes, that obligation is not temporary. It lasts forever.

The lives we lost today were the lives, given in the service of liberty, the service of security, and the service of others. In the service of America, like their fellow brothers and sisters in arms who died defending our vision and our values, with the struggle against terrorism, on this day, are part of a great noble company of American heroes. To those who carried out this attack, as well as anyone who wishes America harm, know this—we will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay. I will defend our interest in our people with every measure at my command.

Over the past few weeks. I know you're—many of you are probably tired of hearing me say it. We've been made aware, from our intelligence community, that the ISIS-K, an arch-enemy of the Taliban—people were freed when both those prisons were opened, have been planning a complex set of attacks on the United States personnel and others. This is why from the outset, I've repeatedly said that this mission was extraordinarily dangerous, which is why I was so determined to limit the duration of this mission.

As General McKenzie said, this is why our mission was designed the way it was designed—to operate under severe stress and attack. We've known that from the beginning. As I've been in constant contact with our senior military leaders and I mean, constant, around the clock—and our commanders on the ground throughout the day, they've made it clear that we can and we must complete this mission, and we will. That's what I've ordered them to do. We will not be deterred by terrorists. We will not let them stop our mission. We will continue the evacuation.

I've also ordered my commanders to develop operational plans to strike ISIS-K assets, leadership and facilities. We will respond with force and precision at our time, at the place we choose, in a moment of our choosing. Here's what you need to know—these ISIS terrorists will not win. We will rescue the Americans. We will get our Afghan allies out and our mission will go on. America will not be intimidated. And I have the utmost confidence in our brave service members who continue to execute this mission with courage and honor to save lives and get Americans, our partners, and our Afghan allies out of Afghanistan.

Every day when I talked to our commanders. I ask them what they need—what more do they need, if anything, to get the job done. As they will tell you, I've granted every request. I reiterated to them today, on three occasions, that they should take the maximum steps necessary to protect our forces on the ground and Kabul. I also want to thank the Secretary of Defense, the military leadership in the Pentagon, and all the commanders in the field. There has been complete unanimity of every commander on the objectives of this mission—and the best way to achieve those objectives. Those who have served through the ages have drawn inspiration from the book of Isaiah, when the Lord says, who shall I said, who shall go for us—American military has been answering for a long time. Here I am, Lord sent me. Here I am, send me. Each one of these women and men of our armed forces are the heirs of that tradition of sacrifice of volunteered to go in harm's way to risk everything—not for glory, not for profit but to defend what we love and the people we love. And I ask that you join me now, in a moment of silence, for all those, in uniform and out. Those beautiful military civilians, who have given the last full measure of devotion.

Thank you. God bless you all. May God protect the troops and all those, who are standing watch for America.

We have so much to do, and the capacity to do it. We just have to remain steadfast. We will complete our mission, and we will continue—after our troops are withdrawn, to find means by which we defined any American, who wishes to get out of Afghanistan. We will find them, and we will get them out.