DENVER (KDVR) — Before this week’s attacks in Kabul, the U.S. military hadn’t seen as many deaths in a single day in Afghanistan in over 10 years.
U.S. and Afghan officials confirmed on Aug. 26 that a suicide bomber attacked crowds heading for the Kabul airport. The attacks killed at least 60 Afghans and 13 U.S. service members. Another 15 service members and 140 Afghans were injured.
In a press conference, President Joe Biden said the U.S. would find and punish those responsible, believed to be the Islamic State group. The U.S. will resume its plan to withdraw its forces entirely by Aug. 31, he said.
The attacks put a dark footnote to an already-dark withdrawal from the United States’ end to its longest-lasting war.
In the 20 years that the U.S. has mounted a war in Afghanistan, only three single days have higher death counts than the Kabul bombings.
According to U.S. Department of Defense casualty reports, Aug. 26, 2021, was the fourth-deadliest day in Afghanistan and the deadliest in 10 years.
On Aug. 6, 2011 — only months after U.S. Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden — 31 service members died, the single highest amount in the history of the Afghan war.
There have been strings of days since then in which the count of U.S. fallen meets or exceeds that of the Aug. 26 Kabul bombings, but those are typically spread across different engagements and regions.
Only three single days have higher casualty counts. They come from hotter times in the war.
Fourteen U.S. service members died in Afghanistan on April 6, 2005. Nineteen died on June 28, 2005.
The violence erupting in Afghanistan as the Taliban has quickly taken over has broken a yearslong spell of relative quiet.
Military casualties in Afghanistan had trickled down after the war’s heyday in the late aughts and early 2010s.
Up until this week, the U.S. had not recorded a single military casualty in Afghanistan all year. The 13 service members killed on Aug. 26 is a greater amount than the casualties of 2020 combined.