Utah’s leaders reacted with messages of heartbreak and prayers after the horrific terrorist attacks outside the Kabul airport on Thursday.
Two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of Afghans flocking to Kabul’s airport Thursday, transforming a scene of desperation into one of horror in the waning days of an airlift for those fleeing the Taliban takeover, The Associated Press reported. At least 60 Afghans and 13 U.S. troops were killed in the attacks.
Utah Sen. Mitt Romney said his “heart breaks” for U.S. service members wounded or killed by the explosion, as well as the “innocent Afghan lives lost.”
“I am inspired by the strength and compassion of our troops and pray for their safety,” Romney tweeted.
Those who lost their lives “represented the very best and finest of America, laying down their lives to aid the most vulnerable in perilous circumstances,” Romney said in another tweet. “This loss of life tears at our collective soul.”
They represented the very best and finest of America, laying down their lives to aid the most vulnerable in perilous circumstances. This loss of life tears at our collective soul. God bless our fallen & wounded Marines, their families and all of our servicemembers in harm’s way.— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) August 26, 2021
Utah Gov. Spencer Cox issued a statement saying he and his wife, Abby Cox, were “deeply saddened” to hear about the casualties, both U.S. service members and civilians.
“We owe an immense debt of gratitude to the women and men in uniform who serve us so well and who are helping Afghan refugees flee from tyranny,” Cox said. “Our prayers are with all of our U.S. service members and their loved ones.”
Our statement on today's tragic attacks in Kabul: pic.twitter.com/nDAmb8IddB— Utah Gov. Spencer J. Cox (@GovCox) August 26, 2021
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, also offered his prayers for those killed and wounded.
“Their sacrifice will never be forgotten,” Lee tweeted. “It is our duty to protect those Americans still in Afghanistan and those who have helped us in this fight against evil.”
My prayers are with those killed and wounded in action today, their families, and their teammates still on the ground. Their sacrifice will never be forgotten. It is our duty to protect those Americans still in Afghanistan and those who have helped us in this fight against evil.— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) August 26, 2021
Rep. Burgess Owens, R-Utah, who sits on the House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, tweeted “there are no words to describe what an utterly devastating day this is for our country.”
“I am heartsick for the families of our fallen heroes and continue to pray for them and for our troops, Americans, and allies who remain in harm’s way,” Owens said.
There are no words to describe what an utterly devastating day this is for our country. I am heartsick for the families of our fallen heroes and continue to pray for them and for our troops, Americans, and allies who remain in harm’s way. https://t.co/3sqtWSrcKM— Rep. Burgess Owens (@RepBurgessOwens) August 26, 2021
Owens called on Utahns to “join me in praying for the safety” of U.S. service members, American citizens and Afghan people in Kabul. He also said his team “stands ready to help,” urging anyone who needs help to call his office at 801-999-9801 or 202-225-3011.
Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, placed blame, tweeting there’s “no excuse for the incompetence displayed by the Biden Administration throughout this disastrous withdrawal.”
Stewart, who sits on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence’s Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation subcommittee, called for the Kabul airport to be secured and all Americans and allies evacuated “by any means necessary.”
There is no excuse for the incompetence displayed by the Biden Administration throughout this disastrous withdrawal.— Rep. Chris Stewart (@RepChrisStewart) August 26, 2021
We need to secure the airport, maintain a perimeter, and safely evacuate all Americans and our allies – and we need to do so by any means necessary.
Rep. Blake Moore, R-Utah, also called the scene in Kabul “heartbreaking,” offering prayers from himself and his team.
As the situation in Afghanistan becomes more and more heartbreaking, my team and I send prayers to our citizens, troops, and Afghan allies impacted by today’s attacks. Please know our team remains steadfast in supporting however we can. #utpol— Rep. Blake Moore (@RepBlakeMoore) August 26, 2021
Utah Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson also tweeted a statement expressing her grief for those killed by the attacks.
“I’m so thankful for the women and men in uniform who are defending our country and helping Afghan refugees,” she said. “I’m praying for all our U.S. service members and their families.”