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Immediate Release

Statement by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III

One year ago today, in the closing hours of the U.S. war in Afghanistan, 13 of our bravest Servicemen and women—11 Marines, a Soldier, and a Sailor—were killed in a vicious attack at Abbey Gate outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. The terrorist who took the lives of our comrades also killed more than 170 Afghan civilians in a senseless act of violence.

The heroes we lost that day gave their lives to defend their teammates and to help save the lives of tens of thousands of innocent Afghan people who sought freedom and the opportunity for a better life. 

I know that today’s tragic milestone is agonizing for the families and loved ones of those we lost at Abbey Gate. I also know that this is an extremely difficult time for all of us who mourn the 2,461 U.S. military personnel who lost their lives in our nation’s longest war, and for all of us who served in Afghanistan and continue to bear the wounds of war.

Today, I hope that every American will pause in solemn remembrance of the valorous service of their fellow Americans—the brave volunteers in uniform and their families, who sacrificed so much to protect the United States from terrorism.