Yesterday, over 160 Afghans and 13 U.S. service members were killed by suicide bombs near Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport. At least 185 Afghans and 15 U.S. service members were injured.
This news has sent ripple effects throughout our military community.
Today SFI joins with our friends and colleagues in grieving these losses.
The victims of yesterday’s attack died while pursuing the same, united goal. Afghans defied credible risks to their own safety for the slightest chance of escaping danger, and U.S. service members were on site to protect their efforts. Each person lost their life in pursuit of this humanitarian rescue mission, in hopes that our allies and other vulnerable Afghans would find peace and security on the other side.
It’s our turn to take up the baton.
13 families became Gold Star families yesterday. That’s 13 entire support networks — 13 families, 13 friend groups, 13 cohorts of coworkers, 13 neighborhoods — grappling with loss, forever altered. It is our job, as a community and as a nation, to wrap our arms around these families as they navigate the treacherous waters ahead.
Countless U.S. defense and diplomatic personnel, and volunteer civilians, are helping evacuations right now, and many of them have also endured mental anguish from this event. They may be deployed to crisis lines rather than the frontlines, but their investment in the mission — and consequent trauma from yesterday’s attack — will remain. Other surviving veterans and families have also had their suffering renewed by this news. We need to keep our eyes and ears wide open as many of our community members need help.
Finally, we owe it to the fallen to do our part in supporting the continued evacuation and resettlement of Afghans fleeing terror. This will mean volunteering and donating to welcome our new Afghan neighbors. This will mean advocacy for policies beyond August 31 that widen the aperture of Afghan refugees our country evacuates and accepts. This will also, crucially, mean decrying any forms of xenophobia we see being used to disparage these communities.
This is all of our mission now.