LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – Attacks in Afghanistan have left 13 U.S. service members and dozens of Afghan civilians dead. The losses from Thursday’s attack in Kabul are being felt very strongly here at home.
President Joe Biden has promised retaliation after what happened. The Pentagon has said a suicide bomber detonated an explosive just outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. The Pentagon also says another explosion happened at a nearby hotel. As of Thursday night, the death toll stood around 90 people, but that number is expected to grow.
President Biden says the bombings were the work of the ISIS affiliate in Afghanistan, known as ISIS-K. The attacks marked one of the deadliest days for U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
The attacks in Afghanistan have caused a ripple effect of emotion across the world — including in Nevada. It is hard for many to come to terms with what happened. Local Afghans and local service members are devastated, but they are holding on to hope.
“Very challenging, very heartbreaking,” said Las Vegas resident Rokai Yusufzai.
That is the only way Yusufzai can describe how he is feeling right now. He has family members caught in the chaos in Afghanistan.
“They were on their way to the airport to make another attempt to be able to get out,” Yusufzai said.
But the deadly blasts outside Kabul’s airport Thursday made that impossible. Yusufzai has not been able to connect with his loved ones since then, so he is holding on to their most recent conversation.
“They still had hope that they could make it to the gates and be able to pass through the gates and get on a plane,” Yusufzai said.
13 U.S. service members were killed in the attacks, making this the deadliest day for the U.S. military in a decade.
“We’re just feeling frustrated. Angry, frustrated, sad — all those things,” said retired Air Force Maj. Yonel Dorelis.
Dorelis was a helicopter pilot who served two tours in Afghanistan in the early 2000s. He is still processing the loss of life.
“As a former service member and American, that hits hard,” Dorelis said.
Dorelis said after being on the ground in Afghanistan years ago, he never expected things to get to this point. He wants to see more organization.
“I don’t argue it was time to get out, it was just done poorly, very poorly, and unfortunately, what happened today is the end result of that,” Dorelis said.
But, he is hopeful.
“We’re going to get our people out,” Dorelis said. “We’re going to get our friends out.”
Yusufzai prays that is true for his family, as well.
“We need to figure out how we can get them out of there,” Yusufzai said.
President Biden has vowed to retaliate against those who caused the attacks. Veterans tell 8 News Now they hope the president delivers on that promise.