McCarthy has US Capitol flags lowered half-staff, honors 13 lives lost in Afghanistan evacuation
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy directed to have the flags at the U.S. Capitol lowered to half-staff on Saturday to honor the 13 U.S. service members who lost their lives in a tragic suicide bombing during the ‘botched’ withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021 under the Biden administration.
Saturday marked the two-year anniversary of the attack outside the Abbey Gate at Kabul’s airport during the military’s evacuation from Afghanistan in August 2021.
‘Two years ago today, we tragically lost 13 brave service men and women in Afghanistan,’ McCarthy said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. ‘I have directed the flags at the U.S. Capitol be lowered to half-staff in honor of these American heroes.’
The speaker then listed the names of the fallen – Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, 25; Sgt. Nicole L. Gee, 23; Staff Sgt. Darin T. Hoover, 31; Cpl. Hunter Lopez, 22; Cpl. Daegan W. Page, 23; Cpl. Humberto A. Sanchez, 22; Lance Cpl. David L. Espinoza, 20; Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz, 20; Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum, 20; Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola, 20; Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui, 20; Navy Corpsman Maxton W. Soviak, 22; Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss, 23 – along with their pictures.
Biden’s pullout of U.S. troops in Afghanistan faced widespread global backlash after Taliban insurgents retook the country in a matter of days on Aug. 15, 2021, essentially winning the war 20 years after their ouster by U.S.-led forces. Just a month earlier, Biden had told Americans that the likelihood of a Taliban takeover was ‘highly unlikely.’
On Aug. 26, 2021, during the U.S. military’s mass evacuation at the Kabul airport, suicide bombers killed at least 183 people, including 13 U.S. service members.
The evacuation required significant cooperation from the Taliban to complete and ended a day ahead of the deadline on Aug. 30, leaving behind thousands of U.S. citizens and tens of thousands of Afghan allies, despite Biden’s promise days earlier to ‘get them all out.’
Several lawmakers turned to social media on the two-year anniversary of the tragedy, including Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va.
‘Two years ago today, we witnessed the deadliest attack on U.S. forces in over a decade when a suicide bomber entered the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, taking the lives of 13 selfless United States service members,’ Wittman wrote in a post on X.
‘To this day, not one member of the Biden administration has been held accountable for their botched withdrawal from Afghanistan,’ he added in a separate post about the tragedy. ‘It’s time for all of those who have served our nation over the past two decades, and their loved ones, to get the answers they deserve.’
Kyle Morris of Fox News Digital contributed to this report.