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President Thanks Service Members for Aiding in Afghanistan Evacuation

Aug. 31, 2021 | BY David Vergun , DOD News

President Joe Biden today expressed his appreciation to the service members who airlifted more than 120,000 people to safety from Kabul, Afghanistan.

He also offered thanks to the veterans and volunteers who supported that effort. 

A sailor fits a shoe onto a child being held by a civilian.
Evacuee Assistance
A sailor fits a new pair of shoes on a child evacuated from Afghanistan Naval Station Rota, Spain, Aug. 29, 2021.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Nathan Carpenter
VIRIN: 210829-N-CO914-1139A

"The extraordinary success of this mission was due to the incredible skill, bravery and selfless courage of the United States military," he said.

"For weeks, they risked their lives to get American citizens, Afghans who helped us, citizens of our allies and partners, and others on board planes and out of the country," he said.

A Marine talks to civilians outdoors.
Airport Ops
Marines process evacuees at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 28, 2021. U.S. service members are assisting the Department of State with a non-combatant evacuation operation in Afghanistan.
Photo By: Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Victor Mancilla
VIRIN: 210828-M-AU949-0277Y
A Marine holds a baby while people file in the background.
Marine Protection
A Marine holds a baby while a family in-processes at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 28, 2021. U.S. service members are assisting the Department of State with a non-combatant evacuation operation in Afghanistan.
Photo By: Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Victor Mancilla
VIRIN: 210828-M-AU949-0271A

The president said America owes a debt of gratitude to the families of the 13 service members who were killed during that evacuation.

Biden said that the U.S. is committed to getting any remaining Americans or Afghans out of the country who wish to leave. He also said the U.S. is committed to delivering humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.

People file into a large room and take seats as seen from a high angle.
Assisting Evacuees
Sailors and volunteers assist evacuees from Afghanistan at Naval Station Rota, Spain, Aug. 29, 2021.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Nathan Carpenter
VIRIN: 210829-N-CO914-1126

The president reminded Americans that the threat of terrorism over the past 20 years has expanded globally beyond Afghanistan and that the Defense Department is committed to protecting the homeland, allies and partners.

"Let me say clearly to those who wish America harm, to those who engage in terrorism against us, or our allies know this: The United States will never rest. We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down to the ends of the earth, and you will pay the ultimate price," he said.