US Embassy orders everyone to leave Kabul airport because of a ‘specific, credible’ threat

The U.S. Embassy ordered everyone to leave the Kabul airport immediately because of a ‘specific, credible’ threat just hours after President Joe Biden said another attack on the airport was imminent. 

But urgency was ramped up by the Embassy’s Saturday night warning, which didn’t delve into details about who is behind the threat.  

‘Due to a specific, credible threat, all U.S. citizens in the vicinity of Kabul airport (HKIA), including the South (Airport Circle) gate, the new Ministry of the Interior and the gate near the Panjshir Petrol station on the northwest side of the airport, should leave the airport area immediately.’ 

Before the warning was issued, Biden vowed that his revenge strike for an ISIS-K attack that killed 13 US troops is ‘not the last’ and added that the ‘situation on the ground continues to be extremely dangerous.’ 

President Joe Biden has said that another attack on the Kabul airport could be imminent, while vowing that his revenge strike for an ISIS-K attack that killed 13 US troops is 'not the last'

President Joe Biden has said that another attack on the Kabul airport could be imminent, while vowing that his revenge strike for an ISIS-K attack that killed 13 US troops is 'not the last'

President Joe Biden has said that another attack on the Kabul airport could be imminent, while vowing that his revenge strike for an ISIS-K attack that killed 13 US troops is ‘not the last’

Marines are seen manning a checkpoint at the Kabul airport on Thursday. Thirteen US troops were killed when a suicide bomb went off near this checkpoint, also killing some 160 Afghans

Marines are seen manning a checkpoint at the Kabul airport on Thursday. Thirteen US troops were killed when a suicide bomb went off near this checkpoint, also killing some 160 Afghans

Marines are seen manning a checkpoint at the Kabul airport on Thursday. Thirteen US troops were killed when a suicide bomb went off near this checkpoint, also killing some 160 Afghans

As the U.S. military rushes into the final evacuation of Kabul airport ahead of Biden’s Tuesday deadline for withdrawal from Afghanistan, the president defended his drone strike, which the Pentagon said killed two ISIS-K ‘planners and facilitators’ in response to the deadly suicide bomb attack. 

‘I said we would go after the group responsible for the attack on our troops and innocent civilians in Kabul, and we have. This strike was not the last. We will continue to hunt down any person involved in that heinous attack and make them pay,’ Biden said in a written statement released Saturday afternoon. 

The Taliban condemned the US drone strike, with a spokesman describing the operation as a ‘clear attack on Afghan territory’.

‘The Americans should have informed us before conducting the airstrike,’ spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters on Saturday.

However, Mujahid later took to Twitter to disavow the interview, writing: ‘Reuters has interviewed me and distorted my words. I urge the media and journalists not to take these words seriously.’ 

Mujahid claimed that two women and a child were wounded in the drone strike. The Pentagon says it is not aware of any civilian casualties. 

The Pentagon earlier confirmed that two ISIS-K targets were killed and one wounded in the drone strike responding to the suicide attack in Kabul, after earlier confirming only one kill. 

Soldiers are seen manning an checkpoint at the Kabul airport earlier this week. 'The situation on the ground continues to be extremely dangerous, and the threat of terrorist attacks on the airport remains high,' said Biden

Soldiers are seen manning an checkpoint at the Kabul airport earlier this week. 'The situation on the ground continues to be extremely dangerous, and the threat of terrorist attacks on the airport remains high,' said Biden

Soldiers are seen manning an checkpoint at the Kabul airport earlier this week. ‘The situation on the ground continues to be extremely dangerous, and the threat of terrorist attacks on the airport remains high,’ said Biden

Army Major Gen. William D. 'Hank' Taylor said at a Pentagon briefing on Saturday that two ISIS-K targets had been killed and one wounded in the drone strike in Afghanistan

Army Major Gen. William D. 'Hank' Taylor said at a Pentagon briefing on Saturday that two ISIS-K targets had been killed and one wounded in the drone strike in Afghanistan

Army Major Gen. William D. ‘Hank’ Taylor said at a Pentagon briefing on Saturday that two ISIS-K targets had been killed and one wounded in the drone strike in Afghanistan

Taliban patrols outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on Saturday. The Taliban has now effectively sealed off the airport, and the US Embassy is warning any Americans not to approach the gates

Taliban patrols outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on Saturday. The Taliban has now effectively sealed off the airport, and the US Embassy is warning any Americans not to approach the gates

Taliban patrols outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on Saturday. The Taliban has now effectively sealed off the airport, and the US Embassy is warning any Americans not to approach the gates

The two killed targets were ‘high profile’, but were not senior members of ISIS-K, Army Major Gen. William D. ‘Hank’ Taylor said at a Pentagon briefing on Saturday, saying there were no known civilian casualties. 

The retaliatory strike was launched a day after an ISIS-K suicide bomber blew himself up outside the walls of Kabul airport, killing 13 US troops and scores of Afghan civilians. 

The terror threat at the airport remains ‘very real’ and ‘very dynamic’ Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on Saturday.

‘Threats are still very real, they’re very dynamic and we are monitoring them literally in real time. And as I said yesterday, we’re taking all the means necessary to make syre we remain focused on that threat stream and doing what we can for force protection,’ Kirby said at a briefing. 

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that Reuters had 'distorted' his words after he slammed the US drone strike

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that Reuters had 'distorted' his words after he slammed the US drone strike

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that Reuters had ‘distorted’ his words after he slammed the US drone strike

The Pentagon described the two targets killed in the drone strike as a ‘planner’ and ‘facilitator’ of ISIS-K plots who were involved in planning additional future attacks in Kabul, but declined to name them. 

‘They lost a planner and they lost a facilitator and got one wounded. The fact that two of these individuals are no longer walking on the face of the Earth, that’s a good thing,’ said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby. 

It was not immediately clear whether the targeted ISIS-K members were directly involved in Thursday’s airport attack. The U.S. military had initially said one person was killed. 

‘They were ISIS-K planners and facilitators and that’s enough reason there alone. I won’t speak to the details of these individuals and what their specific roles might be,’ Kirby said. He added: ‘We have the ability and the means to carry over the horizon counterterrorism capabilities and we´re going to defend ourselves.’ 

Kirby declined to say whether all three suspects were intentional targets of the strike, saying: ‘It was a single mission to get these targets and as the assessments and information flowed over time, we were able to recognize that another was killed as well and one wounded.’ 

Another defense official told CNN that the strike on Friday only took place after surveillance on the compound confirmed the target’s wife and children had left. 

Biden authorized the drone strike and it was ordered by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, a defense official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to provide details not yet publicly announced. 

The Pentagon said that 6,800 people had been evacuated from Afghanistan in the past 24 hours, and that 1,400 people are now screened and inside the airport for processing and removal.

Since July, 117,000 people have been evacuated by US and NATO forces, including 5,400 US citizens, said Taylor. 

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid condemned the US drone strike on ISIS-K as a 'clear attack on Afghan territory' but later disavowed the statement, saying that Reuters had 'distorted' his words

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid condemned the US drone strike on ISIS-K as a 'clear attack on Afghan territory' but later disavowed the statement, saying that Reuters had 'distorted' his words

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid condemned the US drone strike on ISIS-K as a ‘clear attack on Afghan territory’ but later disavowed the statement, saying that Reuters had ‘distorted’ his words

'They lost a planner and they lost a facilitator and got one wounded. The fact that two of these individuals are no longer walking on the face of the Earth, that's a good thing,' said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby

'They lost a planner and they lost a facilitator and got one wounded. The fact that two of these individuals are no longer walking on the face of the Earth, that's a good thing,' said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby

‘They lost a planner and they lost a facilitator and got one wounded. The fact that two of these individuals are no longer walking on the face of the Earth, that’s a good thing,’ said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby

The Pentagon said on Saturday that two ISIS-K targets had been killed in the drone strike responding to the suicide attack in Kabul, after earlier confirming only one kill

The Pentagon said on Saturday that two ISIS-K targets had been killed in the drone strike responding to the suicide attack in Kabul, after earlier confirming only one kill

The Pentagon said on Saturday that two ISIS-K targets had been killed in the drone strike responding to the suicide attack in Kabul, after earlier confirming only one kill

Afghan families live in a temporary shelter at a park in Kabul, Afghanistan on Saturday after the Taliban sealed off the airport

Afghan families live in a temporary shelter at a park in Kabul, Afghanistan on Saturday after the Taliban sealed off the airport

Afghan families live in a temporary shelter at a park in Kabul, Afghanistan on Saturday after the Taliban sealed off the airport

However, hope for escape is dwindling for anyone not already inside the airport, after the Taliban sealed off access to the airport on Saturday to most Afghans hoping to leave. 

The Pentagon insisted that some gates at the airport remain open and that US passport holders can still get in. 

However, the US Embassy in Kabul issued an urgent alert on Saturday warning citizens not to approach the airport and avoid airport gates.

‘U.S. citizens who are at the Abbey gate, East gate, North gate or the New Ministry of Interior gate now should leave immediately,’ the Embassy said in the alert. 

Mujahid, the Taliban’s main spokesman said on Saturday they would announce a new government for Afghanistan in the coming week. 

He appealed to the United States and other Western nations to maintain diplomatic relations after their withdrawal, which he expected would be completed ‘very soon’. 

There is mounting frustration in Kabul at the severe economic hardship caused by a plummeting currency and rising food prices, with banks still shuttered two weeks after the fall of the city to the Taliban.

Mujahid said officials had already been appointed to run key institutions including the ministries of public health and education and the central bank.

Meanwhile, the US rescue operation is entering in its final hours ahead of President Joe Biden’s Tuesday deadline for withdrawal, and US troops will now shift their focus to the final removal or destruction of equipment and extraction of service members. 

Most NATO nations have now flown out their troops after two decades in Afghanistan, winding down a frantic airlift that Western leaders acknowledged was still leaving many of their citizens and local allies behind.

The United States, which says the round-the-clock flights have evacuated more than 100,000 people since the Taliban claimed Kabul on August 15, was keeping up airlifts ahead of Biden’s Tuesday deadline.

A Taliban militant patrols outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Saturday. The airport has now been reportedly sealed off as the evacuation ends

A Taliban militant patrols outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Saturday. The airport has now been reportedly sealed off as the evacuation ends

A Taliban militant patrols outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Saturday. The airport has now been reportedly sealed off as the evacuation ends

U.S. service members assist with security at an Evacuation Control Check Point (ECC) during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Thursday

U.S. service members assist with security at an Evacuation Control Check Point (ECC) during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Thursday

U.S. service members assist with security at an Evacuation Control Check Point (ECC) during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Thursday

Britain also was carrying out its final evacuation flights Saturday, though Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to ‘shift heaven and earth’ to get more of those at risk from the Taliban to Britain by other means.

Britain’s ambassador to Afghanistan, Laurie Bristow, said in a video from Kabul airport and posted on Twitter that it was ‘time to close this phase of the operation now.’

‘But we haven´t forgotten the people who still need to leave,’ he said. ‘We´ll continue to do everything we can to help them. Nor have we forgotten the brave, decent people of Afghanistan. They deserve to live in peace and security.’

Taliban forces were holding some positions within the airport, ready to peacefully take control as American forces fly out, spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said. 

The Pentagon stressed Friday that the Taliban, who now run Afghanistan, were not in control of any operations at the airport.

A Taliban Badri fighter, a "special forces" unit, stands guard on Humvee vehicle at the main entrance gate of Kabul airport in Kabul on Saturday, following the Taliban stunning military takeover of Afghanistan

A Taliban Badri fighter, a "special forces" unit, stands guard on Humvee vehicle at the main entrance gate of Kabul airport in Kabul on Saturday, following the Taliban stunning military takeover of Afghanistan

A Taliban Badri fighter, a ‘special forces’ unit, stands guard on Humvee vehicle at the main entrance gate of Kabul airport in Kabul on Saturday, following the Taliban stunning military takeover of Afghanistan

Outside the airport, Taliban leaders deployed extra forces Saturday to prevent large crowds from gathering after a devastating suicide attack two days earlier,

New layers of checkpoints sprang up on roads leading to the airport, some manned by uniformed Taliban fighters with Humvees and night-vision goggles captured from Afghan security forces. 

Areas where large crowds had gathered over the past two weeks in the hopes of fleeing the country were largely empty.

A suicide attack Thursday by an Islamic State group affiliate killed 169 Afghans and 13 U.S. service members, and there were concerns that the group, which is far more radical than the Taliban, could strike again. The U.S. military said it killed an IS militant early Saturday in a drone strike, after U.S. President Joe Biden promised swift retaliation.

An Afghan who worked as a translator for the U.S. military said he was with a group of people with permission to leave who tried to reach the airport late Friday. After passing through three checkpoints they were stopped at a fourth. An argument ensued, and the Taliban said they had been told by the Americans to only let U.S. passport-holders through.

‘I am so hopeless for my future,’ the man told The Associated Press after returning to Kabul, speaking on condition of anonymity because of security concerns. ‘If the evacuation is over, what will happen to us?’

People are seen carrying an injured person to a hospital after an attack at Kabul airport on Thursday

People are seen carrying an injured person to a hospital after an attack at Kabul airport on Thursday

People are seen carrying an injured person to a hospital after an attack at Kabul airport on Thursday

Marines secure the airport on Thursday. The rescue operation is now in its final hours ahead of President Joe Biden's Tuesday deadline

Marines secure the airport on Thursday. The rescue operation is now in its final hours ahead of President Joe Biden's Tuesday deadline

Marines secure the airport on Thursday. The rescue operation is now in its final hours ahead of President Joe Biden’s Tuesday deadline

Finnish coalition forces assist evacuees for onward processing during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport earlier this week

Finnish coalition forces assist evacuees for onward processing during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport earlier this week

Finnish coalition forces assist evacuees for onward processing during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport earlier this week

The Pentagon said Friday that Afghans with the proper documents still were being allowed in.

On Saturday, the Taliban fired warning shots and deployed some kind of colored smoke on a road leading to the airport, sending dozens of people scattering, according to a video circulating online that was consistent with AP reporting.

Afghans, meanwhile, faced economic crises as many Western governments withheld support from Taliban rule.

In Kabul, hundreds of protesters, including many civil servants, gathered outside a bank while countless more lined up at cash machines. They said they hadn’t been paid for three to six months and were unable to withdraw cash. ATM machines were still operating, but withdrawals were limited to about $200 every 24 hours.

Later Saturday, the central bank ordered commercial bank branches to open and allow customers to withdraw $200 per week, calling it a temporary measure.

The economic crisis, which predates the Taliban takeover, could give Western nations leverage as they urge Afghanistan’s new rulers to form a moderate, inclusive government and allow people to leave after Tuesday.

Afghanistan is heavily dependent on international aid, which covered around 75% of the toppled Western-backed government’s budget. The Taliban have said they want good relations with the international community and have promised a more moderate form of Islamic rule than when they last governed the country, but many Afghans are deeply skeptical.

The Taliban cannot access almost any of the central bank´s $9 billion in reserves, most of which is held by the New York Federal Reserve. The International Monetary Fund has also suspended the transfer of some $450 million. Without a regular supply of U.S. dollars, the local currency is at risk of collapse, which could send the price of basic goods soaring.

U.S. Soliders with the 82nd Airborne Division check evacuees during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul earlier this week

U.S. Soliders with the 82nd Airborne Division check evacuees during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul earlier this week

U.S. Soliders with the 82nd Airborne Division check evacuees during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul earlier this week

U.S. Marines with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force - Crisis Response - Central Command, assist with security at an Evacuation Control Checkpoint (ECC)

U.S. Marines with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force - Crisis Response - Central Command, assist with security at an Evacuation Control Checkpoint (ECC)

U.S. Marines with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Central Command, assist with security at an Evacuation Control Checkpoint (ECC)

A U.S. Marine escorts a young girl at an Evacuation Control Checkpoint (ECC) during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport on Wednesday

A U.S. Marine escorts a young girl at an Evacuation Control Checkpoint (ECC) during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport on Wednesday

A U.S. Marine escorts a young girl at an Evacuation Control Checkpoint (ECC) during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport on Wednesday

A U.N. agency warned Saturday that a worsening drought threatens the livelihoods of more than 7 million people. The Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization said Afghans are also suffering from the coronavirus pandemic and displacement from the recent fighting.

Earlier this month, the U.N. World Food Program estimated that about 14 million people – roughly one out of every three Afghans – urgently needed food assistance.

Biden has said he will adhere to a self-imposed Tuesday deadline for withdrawing all U.S. forces. The Taliban, who control nearly the entire country outside of Kabul’s airport, have rejected any extension.

Italy said its final evacuation flight had landed in Rome but that it would work with the United Nations and countries bordering Afghanistan to continue helping Afghans who had worked with its military contingent to leave the country.

‘Our imperative must be to not abandon the Afghan people,’ especially women and children, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said Saturday.

The Taliban have encouraged Afghans to stay, pledging amnesty even to those who fought against them. They have said commercial flights will resume after the U.S. withdrawal, but it’s unclear if airlines will be willing to offer service.

The U.S. and its allies have said they will continue providing humanitarian aid through the U.N. and other partners, but any broader engagement – including development assistance – is likely to hinge on whether the Taliban deliver on their promises of more moderate rule.

Taliban fighters beat up a cameraman for the private broadcaster Tolo TV earlier this week in Kabul. Saad Mohseni, the CEO of the group that owns the channel, said the Taliban have been in touch with the station’s management about the incident. He said the fighter has been identified, but it’s unclear if he has faced any disciplinary action. There was no comment from the Taliban. 

PICTURED: All 13 US troops killed by ISIS-K suicide bomber during Kabul airport evacuation

On August 26, 2021, 11 Marines, one Navy corpsman, and one Army staff sergeant were killed in a suicide attack in Kabul that also claimed more than 160 Afghan lives. The US servicemembers were on a mission of mercy to evacuate at-risk Afghans after the disastrous US withdrawal led to a Taliban takeover. These are their stories:

Sgt. Nicole Gee, 23

Marine Sgt. Nicole Gee was was a maintenance technician with 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit from Roseville, California.

A week before she was killed, Gee cradled a baby in her arms at the Kabul airport. She posted the photo on Instagram and wrote, ‘I love my job.’ 

Sgt. Mallory Harrison, who lived with Gee for three years and called her a ‘sister forever’ and best friend, wrote about the magnitude of her loss.

‘I can’t quite describe the feeling I get when I force myself to come back to reality & think about how I´m never going to see her again,’ Harrison wrote on Facebook. ‘How her last breath was taken doing what she loved – helping people. … Then there was an explosion. And just like that, she’s gone.’

Marine Sgt. Nicole Gee, 23, is seen four days before she was killed, escorting Afghans on to a plane in Kabul

Marine Sgt. Nicole Gee, 23, is seen four days before she was killed, escorting Afghans on to a plane in Kabul

Marine Sgt. Nicole Gee, 23, is seen four days before she was killed, escorting Afghans on to a plane in Kabul

Just days before she was killed in the suicide blast, St. Nicole Gee was photographed holding an Afghan baby

Just days before she was killed in the suicide blast, St. Nicole Gee was photographed holding an Afghan baby

Just days before she was killed in the suicide blast, St. Nicole Gee was photographed holding an Afghan baby

Marine Sgt. Nicole Gee, 23, of Roseville, California was among those killed in the attack on Thursday in Kabul

Marine Sgt. Nicole Gee, 23, of Roseville, California was among those killed in the attack on Thursday in Kabul

Marine Sgt. Nicole Gee, 23, of Roseville, California was among those killed in the attack on Thursday in Kabul

Marine Sgt. Nicole Gee, 23, of Roseville, California was among those killed in the attack on Thursday in Kabul

Gee, 23, (left and right) of Roseville, California was among those killed in the attack on Thursday in Kabul 

Nicole Gee (left middle), a maintenance technician with 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), awaits the launch of an MV-22B Osprey during an exercise in April

Nicole Gee (left middle), a maintenance technician with 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), awaits the launch of an MV-22B Osprey during an exercise in April

Nicole Gee (left middle), a maintenance technician with 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), awaits the launch of an MV-22B Osprey during an exercise in April

Gee’s Instagram page shows another photo of her in fatigues, holding a rifle next to a line of people walking into the belly of a large transport plane. She wrote: ‘escorting evacuees onto the bird.’

The social media account that includes many selfies after working out at the gym lists her location as California, North Carolina and ‘somewhere overseas.’

Photos show her on a camel in Saudi Arabia, in a bikini on a Greek isle and holding a beer in Spain. One from this month in Kuwait shows her beaming with her meritorious promotion to sergeant.

Harrison said her generation of Marines hears war stories from veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, but they seem distant amid boring deployments until ‘the peaceful float you were on turns into … your friends never coming home.’

Gee´s car was still parked in a lot at Camp Lejeune and Harrison mused about all the Marines who walked past it while she was overseas.

‘Some of them knew her. Some of them didn´t.’ she said. ‘They all walked past it. The war stories, the losses, the flag-draped coffins, the KIA bracelets & the heartbreak. It´s not so distant anymore.’

Friends mourned Gee (right) whom they called a 'model Marine' and a 'Marine's Marine'

Friends mourned Gee (right) whom they called a 'model Marine' and a 'Marine's Marine'

Friends mourned Gee (right) whom they called a ‘model Marine’ and a ‘Marine’s Marine’

'She cared about people. She loved fiercely. She was a light in this dark world. She was my person,' said friend and fellow Marine Mallory Harrison in a Facebook post on Gee (center right)

'She cared about people. She loved fiercely. She was a light in this dark world. She was my person,' said friend and fellow Marine Mallory Harrison in a Facebook post on Gee (center right)

‘She cared about people. She loved fiercely. She was a light in this dark world. She was my person,’ said friend and fellow Marine Mallory Harrison in a Facebook post on Gee (center right)

‘She cared about people. She loved fiercely. She was a light in this dark world. She was my person,’ said Harrison in a Facebook post. 

‘I find peace knowing that she left this world doing what she loved. She was a Marine’s Marine,’ she said.

‘She was doing God’s work…..a warrior. Searching Afghan women and children trying to get out of country,’ Captain Karen Holliday said in a Facebook tribute.

Holliday called Gee a ‘Model Marine. A leader on the ground in a chaotic situation.’

She said that a photo released of Gee a few days before her death, showing her escorting Afghans onto a waiting plane, had been bombarded with sexist online comments ‘degrading her for being a female Marine.’  

Lance Corporal Dylan Merola, 20

Lance Corporal Dylan Merola, 20

Lance Corporal Dylan Merola, 20

Lance Corporal Dylan Merola, 20

Lance Corporal Merola was a Marine from Rancho Cucamonga, California. 

He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, based in Camp Pendleton, California. 

The 20-year-old was a graduate of Los Osos High School, according to KABC-TV.

Students honored him at Friday night’s football game by wearing red, white and blue. 

‘Dylan was a beloved son, brother, grandson, great grandson, nephew, a great friend, and a brave soldier,’ said family friend Joseph Matsuoka on a GoFundMe page to raise money for his funeral.

Matsuoka said that Merola ‘paid the ultimate sacrifice at the Abbey Gate at Hamid Karzai International Airport during the evacuation.’ 

Sgt. Johanny Rosario, 25

Marine Sgt. Johanny Rosario, 25

Marine Sgt. Johanny Rosario, 25

Marine Sgt. Johanny Rosario, 25

Marine Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo was a Marine sergeant from Lawrence, Massachusetts assigned to 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, Naval Support Activity Bahrain.

She was a graduate of Lawrence High School and attended Bridgewater State University. 

On social media, friends issued and outpouring of grief and devastation at Rosario’s death. 

Nastassia Hyatt, a former Marine, recalled Rosario helping her through difficult times in a Facebook post.

‘You brought me back to life. Back to life… back to life….’ Hyatt wrote. ‘I wish i could bring you back to life for just one last hug, one last smile, one last nap, one last meal… one last anything.’

‘She the second half of my heart next to my son. Like she’s everything to me. She is the greatest love I’ve ever known in a human besides my son. This one hit hard,’ Hyatt said. 

‘We are heartbroken by the death of the service men and women due to the bombing in Kabul this week. I and the City of Lawrence are particularly saddened that one of those brave souls was a daughter of our City,’ said Lawrence Mayor Kendrys Vasquez in a statement to WCVB-TV.

The Dominican Republic’s embassy in the United States tweeted that Rosario was originally from that Caribbean nation.

On social media, friends issued and outpouring of grief and devastation at Rosario's death

On social media, friends issued and outpouring of grief and devastation at Rosario's death

On social media, friends issued and outpouring of grief and devastation at Rosario’s death

Sonia Guzmán, the Dominican Republic´s ambassador to the United States, tweeted that the Dominican community shares in the loss.

‘Peace to your soul!’ she tweeted in Spanish.

Rosario served with the Naval Amphibious Force, Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, which praised her efforts as supply chief this spring and thanked her for a job well done.

In Lawrence, Massachusetts, Mayor Kendrys Vasquez said he has been in contact with the family.

‘We are heartbroken by the death of the servicemen and women due to the bombing in Kabul this week,’ he said. ‘I and the city of Lawrence are particularly saddened that one of those brave souls was a daughter of our city.’

The family wishes for privacy ‘and that their loved one be recognized as the hero that she was,’ the mayor said.

Rosario (center) was a Marine sergeant from Lawrence, Massachusetts with the Naval Amphibious Force, Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade

Rosario (center) was a Marine sergeant from Lawrence, Massachusetts with the Naval Amphibious Force, Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade

Rosario (center) was a Marine sergeant from Lawrence, Massachusetts with the Naval Amphibious Force, Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade

Melendez said people have strong feelings about the U.S. involvement that’s coming to an end after two decades in Afghanistan.

‘There are people on both sides of the fence. I get it,’ he said. ‘This is about one of our own, a daughter of Lawrence. For us it is definitely about her service and her family´s sacrifice. That´s what will be focusing on.’

‘I have been in touch with the family of the Lawrencian killed in action to extend mine and my family’s most sincere condolences and offer all of the aid that my administration can provide as they grieve this great loss,’ the mayor said.

‘At this time, the family’s most immediate wish is to be given privacy and that their loved one be recognized as the hero that she was.’ 

Hospitalman Maxton Soviak, 20 

Soviak, an Ohio native, joined the Navy after high school and became a hospital corpsman

Soviak, an Ohio native, joined the Navy after high school and became a hospital corpsman

Soviak, an Ohio native, joined the Navy after high school and became a hospital corpsman

Maxton William Soviak was a Navy corpsman from New Berlin, Ohio. He was assigned to 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, California

Weeks before his death, he made a tragic Instagram post on June 10, sharing a photo posing with other service members in what is believed to be Afghanistan.

‘It’s kill or be killed, definitely trynna be on the kill side,’ he wrote in a comment on the post. Navy corpsmen often work alongside Marines, who do not have their own medics. 

Soviak’s sister Marilyn said in her own Instagram post that her brother was there to ‘help people’. 

‘My beautiful, intelligent, beat-to-the-sound of his own drum, annoying, charming baby brother was killed yesterday helping to save lives. He was a f***ing medic. There to help people and now he is gone and my family will never be the same,’ she wrote. 

‘He was just a kid. We are sending kids over there to die. Kids with families that now have holes just like ours,’ she added. ‘I’m not one for praying but d**n could those kids over there use some right now. My heart is in pieces and I don’t think they’ll ever fit back right again.’

Soviak was named as a casualty of the attack by his high school in Milan, Ohio, where he graduated in 2017. 

‘It is with deepest sorrow that I am sharing this news,’ Edison Local School District Superintendent Thomas Roth said in a statement. 

‘Max was a good student who was active in sports and other activities throughout his school career. He was well respected and liked by everyone who knew him. Max was full of life in everything he did.’ 

Maxton William Soviak (center), a medic in his early 20s, made this tragic post on June 10, writing 'It's kill or be killed, definitely trynna be on the kill side'. Marines Hunter Lopez (left) and Daegan Page (right) were also killed in the attack

Maxton William Soviak (center), a medic in his early 20s, made this tragic post on June 10, writing 'It's kill or be killed, definitely trynna be on the kill side'. Marines Hunter Lopez (left) and Daegan Page (right) were also killed in the attack

Maxton William Soviak (center), a medic in his early 20s, made this tragic post on June 10, writing ‘It’s kill or be killed, definitely trynna be on the kill side’. Marines Hunter Lopez (left) and Daegan Page (right) were also killed in the attack

Soviak's sister Marilyn said an Instagram post that her brother was there to 'help people'

Soviak's sister Marilyn said an Instagram post that her brother was there to 'help people'

Soviak’s sister Marilyn said an Instagram post that her brother was there to ‘help people’

Soviak took pride in his Navy service and worked alongside Marines in Afghanistan

Soviak took pride in his Navy service and worked alongside Marines in Afghanistan

Soviak took pride in his Navy service and worked alongside Marines in Afghanistan

Soviak was named as a casualty of the attack by his high school in Milan, Ohio

Soviak was named as a casualty of the attack by his high school in Milan, Ohio

In high school, Soviak was on the honor roll and played football

In high school, Soviak was on the honor roll and played football

In high school, Soviak was on the honor roll and played football. He was named as a casualty of the attack by his high school in Milan, Ohio

Soviak’s family confirmed his death to local media and have asked for privacy. 

In high school, Soviak was on the honor roll and played football, according to the Sandusky Register

Soviak was among the nearly 6,000 US troops now working frantically to evacuate Americans and Afghan refugees from Kabul, with just days remaining before President Joe Biden’s August 31 deadline to withdraw. 

Lance Corporal David Lee Espinoza, 20 

David Lee Espinoza, 20, was one of the Marines killed in the attack

David Lee Espinoza, 20, was one of the Marines killed in the attack

David Lee Espinoza, 20, was one of the Marines killed in the attack

David Lee Espinoza, was a 20-year-old U.S. Marine from Rio Grande, Texas.

His mother, Elizabeth Holguin, said: ‘He was a very good person. He served his country. He helped in any way he could. He was there (in Afghanistan), helping innocent people.’

This was his second deployment; he first made a trip to the Middle East and arrived in Afghanistan for about a week.

Holguin said she was uneasy about him being deployed there.

‘I prayed every day,’ she said.

He is one of four children; he is not married and has no children.

The mom last spoke with him Tuesday.

‘I just told him to be careful, that I was worried about him and I couldn’t wait for him to come back,’ Holguin said. ‘He told me he was fine and not to worry…. He was brave. If he was scared, he didn’t show it.’

She said she holds no animosity toward the president, saying her son ‘wanted to be there.’

Holguin learned her son was dead when she received a phone call Friday at 2.30am.

‘He was just brave enough to go do what he wanted and to help out people. That´s who he was, he was just perfect,’ his mother, Elizabeth Holguin, told the Laredo Morning Times.

In a statement, U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar said Espinoza ’embodied the values of America: grit, dedication, service, and valor. When he joined the military after high school, he did so with the intention of protecting our nation and demonstrating his selfless acts of service.’

Cuellar concluded, ‘The brave never die. Mr. Espinoza is a hero.’

Lance Corporal Rylee McCollum, 20 

Marine Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum was killed in the attack

Marine Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum was killed in the attack

Marine Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum was killed in the attack

Marine Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum was named by his high school in Wyoming as a casualty in the attack. 

He was expecting to become a father and was pictured with his pregnant wife shortly before deploying to Afghanistan in April.

Cheyenne McCollum, Rylee’s sister, told DailyMail.com her brother had wanted to be a Marine since he was a toddler – and that his own baby is due in just three weeks.

‘Rylee was an amazing, man with a passion for the Marines. He was a son, a brother, a husband and a father with a baby due in just 3 weeks,’ she said.

‘He wanted to be a marine his whole life and carried around his rifle in his diapers and cowboy boots.

‘He was determined to be in infantry and this was his first deployment. Rylee was sent to Afghanistan when the evac began. Rylee was manning the check point when he suicide bomb went off.

‘Rylee wanted to be a history teacher and a wrestling coach when he finished serving his country. He’s a tough, kind, loving kid who made an impact on everyone he met. His joke and wit brought so much joy.

‘To his friends and teammates and coaches, he was family. Rylee will always be a hero not just for the ultimate sacrifice he made for our country but for the way he impacted every life around him for the better. Making us stronger, kinder, teaching us to love deeper. We love you Rylee.’

Rylee McCollum was named by his high school in Wyoming as a casualty in the attack

Rylee McCollum was named by his high school in Wyoming as a casualty in the attack

Rylee McCollum was named by his high school in Wyoming as a casualty in the attack

Rylee McCollum was due to become a father. He is pictured with his pregnant wife, right, shortly before deploying to Afghanistan in April

Rylee McCollum was due to become a father. He is pictured with his pregnant wife, right, shortly before deploying to Afghanistan in April

Rylee McCollum was due to become a father. He is pictured with his pregnant wife, right, shortly before deploying to Afghanistan in April

Rylee McCollum was due to become a father. He is pictured with his pregnant wife, right, shortly before deploying to Afghanistan in April

Rylee McCollum was due to become a father. He is pictured with his pregnant wife, right, shortly before deploying to Afghanistan in April

Rylee McCollum graduated from Summit Innovations School in Jackson in 2019. 

Wyoming Schools Superintendent Jillian Balow said in a statement: ‘Saying that I am grateful for Rylee’s service to our country does not begin to encapsulate the grief and sadness I feel today as a mother and as an American.’ 

‘My heart and prayers are with Rylee’s family, friends, and the entire Jackson community,’ she added.

The Wyoming-born Marine’s wrestling coach and close family friend, Benjamin Arlotta said ‘heads should roll’ over the disastrous US exit and that the young soldier’s family is ‘absolutely broken’.

Arlotta told DailyMail.com that even in diapers McCollum would stand watch on his porch with a toy rifle, first said he wanted to be a Marine aged eight, and signed up on his 18th birthday.

In a glowing eulogy to the young expectant father, whose new baby is due in three weeks, Arlotta described McCollum as a ‘personal hero’ and a ‘fantastic brother, fantastic uncle, and a wonderful friend’.

‘I was his wrestling coach since he was six. He was one of the best. A great kid, a great young man and an American patriot. He loved being a Marine,’ Arlotta said.

‘He was just a good man all around. We’re all hurting pretty bad.

‘It’s impossible. I’m sitting here with the family right now – with his dad and two sisters, his brother-in-law and niece. They’re shattered, they’re absolutely broken. The entire community is.’

Pictued, Rylee McCollum and his pregnant wife, Jiennah Crayton

Pictued, Rylee McCollum and his pregnant wife, Jiennah Crayton

Pictued, Rylee McCollum and his pregnant wife, Jiennah Crayton

McCollum was due

McCollum was due

McCollum and Crayton’s baby is due to be born in just three weeks

Arlotta, 37, said he is furious at the Biden administration and blames the White House for putting soldiers in an unnecessarily dangerous position.

‘It’s a junk show, an absolute junk show. Not just for Rylee but for every serviceman and woman over there. They were put in a very terrible spot. In my opinion this entire circumstance has been mismanaged from every level,’ he told DailyMail.com.

‘The only thing I can hope for is that accountability isn’t forgotten. Because for the 13 men who were killed yesterday, heads need to roll for the way things have gone.

Benjamin Arlotta, and his wife, Talia, are long-time family friends of the McCollums. Benjamin said he is angry and devastated

Benjamin Arlotta, and his wife, Talia, are long-time family friends of the McCollums. Benjamin said he is angry and devastated

Benjamin Arlotta, and his wife, Talia, are long-time family friends of the McCollums. Benjamin said he is angry and devastated 

‘We’re just seeing the beginning of it. It’s not over, it’s only going to get worse. Everybody in the country needs to be praying for our servicemen and women right now. They have a scrap out in front of them.

‘Sadly those 13 Marines aren’t going to be the last ones to perish because of these terrible decisions that were made.’

Recalling fond memories of the young Jackson Hole native, the wrestling coach told a heartwarming story of McCollum’s determination.

‘When he was 13 he came into the competition season 32lbs heavier than where he wanted to be,’ Arlotta said.

‘He told me he would lose it. We made a bet. I was going to quit chewing tobacco if he could get down there. That was September, by the time the state championship rolled around in January he had made weight.

‘He entered the wrestling tournament at that weight and I quit chewing that day.

‘He was first and foremost a man of his word. If he said he would do something, by goodness gracious he stood right in front of you until he did it.’

McCollum moved to California for training. His pregnant wife Jiennah ‘Gigi’ Crayton lives in the San Diego area.

The 20-year-old lance corporal wanted to be a soldier since childhood, first telling his parents he would join the Marines age eight.

‘We were driving back from his first state wrestling tournament, I was riding with his family,’ said Arlotta. ‘We asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, he said he wanted to be in the Marines.

‘He enlisted on his 18th birthday,’ the coach added. ‘When he actually enlisted his recruiter told him he could be anything, he could do any job. He swore up and down he wanted to be an infantryman.

‘If you know Rylee, you know you can’t talk him out of a damn thing, so that’s what he did.’

U.S. Congresswoman Liz Cheney, a fellow Wyoming resident, issued a statement when she learned of Rylee’s passing. 

‘I want to offer my deepest condolences to Rylee McCollum’s family and loved ones. His bravery and patriotism will never be forgotten. His willingness to put himself in harm’s way to keep our country safe and defend our freedom represents a level of selflessness and heroism that embodies the best of America. 

‘We know that the McCollum family is grieving this tragic loss. I ask that people in Wyoming and across the country please keep those close to Rylee in their prayers, and remember that we are only free because of the courage and valor of service members like him.’ 

Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz, 20

Marine Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz was a 20-year-old from Wentzville, Missouri

Marine Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz was a 20-year-old from Wentzville, Missouri

Marine Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz was a 20-year-old from Wentzville, Missouri

Marine Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz was a 20-year-old from Wentzville, Missouri. 

His father Mark Schmitz told KMOX the Marines notified his family about 2.40am on Friday about his son’s death. 

‘This was something he always wanted to do and I never seen a young man train as hard as he did to be the best soldier he could be,’ Mark Schmitz said.

The grieving father grew emotional as he spoke about his son, welling up with tears.  

‘His life meant so much more. I’m so incredibly devastated that I won’t be able to see the man that he was very quickly growing into becoming.’ 

Mark Schmitz slammed Biden and blamed him for his son’s death. 

‘Be afraid of our leadership or lack thereof. Pray every day for the soldiers that are putting their lives at risk, doing what they love which is protecting all of us,’ Schmitz’s father said.

He added that he was relieved when his son signed up as a Marine when Trump was in office because he ‘really believed this guy didn’t want to send people into harm’s way.’ 

Jared Schmitz was killed in the attack

Jared Schmitz was killed in the attack

Jared Schmitz was killed in the attack

Lance Corporal Kareem Nikoui, 20

Marine Lance Corporal Kareem Nikoui was a native of Norco, California

Marine Lance Corporal Kareem Nikoui was a native of Norco, California

Marine Lance Corporal Kareem Nikoui was a native of Norco, California

Marine Lance Corporal Kareem Nikoui was a native of Norco, California.

Nikoui’s father Steve, a carpenter, vented his frustrations at Biden in an interview with the Daily Beast

‘They sent my son over there as a paper pusher and then had the Taliban outside providing security. I blame my own military leaders… Biden turned his back on him. That’s it,’ he said

Steve Nikoui said he knew his son was dead when he saw two Marines approaching his home on Thursday at 7.15pm PST. 

He said he sat with the two emotional Marines, who cried more than he cried, and then had them leave. 

Steve also appeared on Fox with Tucker Carlson on Friday to further criticize Biden in an emotional interview where he said the attack could have been avoided. 

‘From what I saw of the airport that they’re in, looked like a Turkey shoot. It’s funneled in to a single file-type entry point at which if you have in sort of chaos of any sort, they would all like gather to that one funneled area, which they would all be accessed. That’s what happened. It was just basically so chaotic and not really planned out,’ Steve said.

As he teared up, he also said he was upset by how long it took to learn of his son’s death. 

‘How long does it take for the military to, you know, inform the next of kin?’ 

Marine Kareem Nikoui, pictured with his mother, was killed on Thursday. His father said he blames Biden for abandoning them in Kabul

Marine Kareem Nikoui, pictured with his mother, was killed on Thursday. His father said he blames Biden for abandoning them in Kabul

Marine Kareem Nikoui, pictured with his mother, was killed on Thursday. His father said he blames Biden for abandoning them in Kabul

‘I was actually trying to console them. But at the same time, I just wanted them to get out as soon as possible so that no one from my family came back and saw them.

‘I thought it appropriate that I be able to tell them,’ he said.

He added that his son, who was based at Camp Pendleton in California, would often bring other Marines home on the holidays if they couldn’t get back to their own families.

‘My wife and I felt very honored that [since] these other boys weren’t around their homes, that we were able to provide some sort of family life for them. 

‘He really loved that [Marine Corps] family. He was devoted—he was going to make a career out of this, and he wanted to go. No hesitation for him to be called to duty,’ he said.

Speaking outside Kareem’s home on Friday, a relative told DailyMail.com that Kareem’s family were inside signing the documents required to repatriate him. 

He added: ‘They’re totally devastated and they need some time. All the family are here and we’re supporting them.’ 

A steady stream of people have been seen coming and going from the home all day, among them some of Kareem’s colleagues from the Camp Pendleton Marine base in San Diego. 

Steve Nikoui, right, father the late Kareem Nikoui, spoke with Fox's Tucker Carlson on Friday to condemn the Biden administration's efforts in Afghanistan that he said led to his son's death

Steve Nikoui, right, father the late Kareem Nikoui, spoke with Fox's Tucker Carlson on Friday to condemn the Biden administration's efforts in Afghanistan that he said led to his son's death

Steve Nikoui, right, father the late Kareem Nikoui, spoke with Fox’s Tucker Carlson on Friday to condemn the Biden administration’s efforts in Afghanistan that he said led to his son’s death

An American flag flew half-mast outside Norco Intermediate School in honor of Nikoui

An American flag flew half-mast outside Norco Intermediate School in honor of Nikoui

An American flag flew half-mast outside Norco Intermediate School in honor of Nikoui

Kareem’s mother Shana Chappell posted angrily on social media, blaming Vice-President Kamala Harris for the loss of her son.  

At the social media message of condolence from the Vice-President, she wrote: ‘This c u next Tuesday is a joke! They are the reason my son is dead.’ 

Kareem’s death is also being mourned by his home city of Norco – a small community of 26,000 people nicknamed ‘Horsetown’ that sits 50 miles east of Los Angeles.

Confirming his death, the city released a message of condolence that read: ‘The City of Norco mourns the loss of Norco resident U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal Kareem Mae’Lee Grant Nikoui who was killed in action while stationed at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on Thursday, August 26, 2021. 

‘The U.S. Marine, who graduated from Norco High School in 2019 and served in JROTC, was committed to serving his country and is survived by his mother, father and siblings.’ 

The city of Norco plans to honor Nikoui by placing his name on the ‘Lest We Forget Wall’ at the George A. Ingalls Veterans Memorial Plaza.

Lance Corporal Hunter Lopez, 22

Marine Lance Corporal Hunter Lopez

Marine Lance Corporal Hunter Lopez

Marine Lance Corporal Hunter Lopez 

Marine Lance Corporal Hunter Lopez, a native of California’s Coachella Valley and the son of two police officers, was also killed in the attack, Sheriff Chad Bianco confirmed.

‘I am unbelievably saddened and heartbroken for the Lopez family as they grieve over the loss of their American Hero,’ Bianco wrote. 

‘Hunter Lopez, son of our own Captain Herman Lopez and Deputy Alicia Lopez, tragically lost his life while serving our country in the United States Marine Corp. He was killed in Kabul, Afghanistan on Thursday, August 26th,’ the sheriff added.

‘Before joining the Marine Corp, Hunter proudly served in our Sheriff’s Explorer Program. Our entire department is mourning this tragic loss. The Lopez family exemplifies the meaning of Service Above Self.’ 

City of La Quinta issued a statement: ‘Our La Quinta Family is in mourning today with the tragic loss of Hunter Lopez, one of the fallen United States Service Members in the attack in Afghanistan,’

‘Hunter is the son of Captain Herman and Alicia Lopez, both members of the Riverside Sheriff’s Department. Captain Herman Lopez is our Police Chief and Captain over at the Thermal Station,’ the statement added.

‘We are all so humbled by the service and ultimate sacrifice that Hunter gave to protect our country. He was a brave and selfless soldier who answered the call to be a United States Marine. Like his parents, Hunter wanted to help serve others and protect his community.’  

Marine Hunter Lopez, a native of California's Coachella Valley and the son of two police officers, was also killed, Sheriff Chad Bianco confirmed

Marine Hunter Lopez, a native of California's Coachella Valley and the son of two police officers, was also killed, Sheriff Chad Bianco confirmed

Marine Hunter Lopez, a native of California’s Coachella Valley and the son of two police officers, was also killed, Sheriff Chad Bianco confirmed

'The Lopez family exemplifies the meaning of Service Above Self,' said the local sheriff

'The Lopez family exemplifies the meaning of Service Above Self,' said the local sheriff

‘The Lopez family exemplifies the meaning of Service Above Self,’ said the local sheriff 

'I am unbelievably saddened and heartbroken for the Lopez family as they grieve over the loss of their American Hero,' Bianco wrote of Hunter Lopez (above)

'I am unbelievably saddened and heartbroken for the Lopez family as they grieve over the loss of their American Hero,' Bianco wrote of Hunter Lopez (above)

‘I am unbelievably saddened and heartbroken for the Lopez family as they grieve over the loss of their American Hero,’ Bianco wrote of Hunter Lopez (above)

Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover, 31

Marine Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover, of Salt Lake City, Utah

Marine Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover, of Salt Lake City, Utah

Marine Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover, of Salt Lake City, Utah

Marine Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover, of Salt Lake City, Utah, was another of the service members killed outside the Kabul airport, his family told KSL-TV

He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, California. 

Friends and family mourned his loss, including fellow students who graduated in the Class of 2008 at Hillcrest High School with him in Midvale. 

‘Soooooo glad I got to see him before he left. I love you son!!! You’re my hero!! Please check in on us once in a while. I’ll try to make you proud!!’ Hoover’s father, Darin Hoover, wrote on Facebook.

‘My handsome nephew, Staff Sergeant Taylor Hoover. Taylor spent his entire adult life as a Marine, serving. Doing the hard things that most of us can’t do. He is a hero,’ Jeremy Soto, an uncle, wrote. 

‘We are wounded. We are bruised. We are angry. We are crushed… but we remain faithful. Thank you for your courage nephew. We love you always.’

‘Always a smile. Always respectful. A joy to be around. He is adored beyond measure. The world has lost a true light. Our hearts are broken. Shock, disbelief, horror, sadness, sorrow, anger and grief,’ Brittany Jones Barnett, an aunt, added. 

‘Thank you sweet boy for the ultimate sacrifice. For giving your life for us all. Fighting for freedom and giving absolutely everything you had. You will never ever be forgotten. We love you so much,’ she added. 

Marine Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover, pictured holding a young family member, died in Kabul

Marine Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover, pictured holding a young family member, died in Kabul

Marine Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover, pictured holding a young family member, died in Kabul

Taylor Hoover with his mom Kelly Barnett

Taylor Hoover with his mom Kelly Barnett

Taylor Hoover with his girlfriend, Nicole Weiss

Taylor Hoover with his girlfriend, Nicole Weiss

Taylor Hoover, a Utah native, was mourned by his mother Kelly Barnett, left, and girlfriend, Nicole Weiss, right, following his death

‘He is a hero. He gave his life protecting those that can´t protect themselves, doing what he loved serving his country,’ said father Darin Hoover, who lives in a Salt Lake City suburb, in an AP interview.

He said he had heard from Marines who said they were grateful they had his son as their sergeant.

‘They look back on him and say that they´ve learned so much from him,’ Hoover said. ‘One heck of a leader.’

Hoover said his son was also a best friend to his two sisters and loved all his extended family. He had a girlfriend in California and was the kind of guy who ‘lit up a room’ when he came in, his father said.

Hoover, center, was among the Marine troops in Afghanistan to helping with the evacuation

Hoover, center, was among the Marine troops in Afghanistan to helping with the evacuation

Hoover, center, was among the Marine troops in Afghanistan to helping with the evacuation 

Hoover in his formal uniform

Hoover in his formal uniform

Hoover in his active duty uniform

Hoover in his active duty uniform

Hoover pictured in his uniforms, ‘died a hero doing what he always wanted to do and was proud to do, ‘ a family member said

Nate Thompson of Murray, Utah, first met Hoover when they were 10 years old in Little League football. They stayed friends through high school, where Hoover played lineman. He was undersized for the position, but his heart and hard work more than made up for what he lacked in statute, Thompson said. As a friend, he was selfless and kind.

‘If we had trouble with grades, trouble with family or trouble on the field, we always called Taylor. He´s always level-headed, even if he´s struggling himself,’ he said.

U.S. Representative Blake Moore, who represents Utah’s 1st Congressional District, also mourned the loss of Hoover. 

‘We’ll be forever grateful for his sacrifice & legacy. He spent his last moments serving our state & nation, and we’ll never forget his unwavering devotion,’ he wrote in a statement. 

Utah Senator Mike Lee wrote in a statement, ‘Burying a child is a grief no parent should bear. Sharon and I mourn with the Hoover family and with all who loved [Hoover]… who gave the last full measure of devotion in Afghanistan. 

‘He died completing a mission to save his countrymen and civilians from evil and oppression. He lived the Marine Corps motto by living and dying always faithful.’

Utah residents tied fellow ribbons to flags in front of Hoover's family home

Utah residents tied fellow ribbons to flags in front of Hoover's family home

Utah residents tied fellow ribbons to flags in front of Hoover’s family home

Neighbor Lena McIllece helped arranged the flags to honor Hoover and the other fallen troops

Neighbor Lena McIllece helped arranged the flags to honor Hoover and the other fallen troops

Neighbor Lena McIllece helped arranged the flags to honor Hoover and the other fallen troops

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox ordered that flags be flown at half-staff at all state facilities and public grounds effective immediately until sunset on August. 30 to honor Hoover and all those who died in the recent attack. 

‘We are devastated to hear of the passing of Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover. Staff Sgt. Hoover served valiantly as a Marine and died serving his fellow countrymen as well as America’s allies in Afghanistan. We honor his tremendous bravery and commitment to his country, even as we condemn the senseless violence that resulted in his death. Abby and I pray for Staff Sgt. Hoover, his family and loved ones during this most difficult time,’ Cox said in a statement.  

A family member told ABC 4 that Hoover, ‘died a hero doing what he always wanted to do and was proud to do, serve his country.  

Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss, 23 

Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss, 23, was a native of Tennessee

Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss, 23, was a native of Tennessee

Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss, 23, was a native of Tennessee

Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss, 23, was a native of Corryton, Tennessee. Knauss was assigned to 9th PSYOP Battalion, 8th PSYOP Group, Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.

He first was identified as one of the victims by his grandfather, Wayne Knauss. 

‘He grew up in a Christian home, attended Berean Christian school through 8th grade and spent, four years at Gibbs High [School],’ said Wayne about his grandson. ‘A motivated young man who loved his country. He was a believer so we will see him again in Gods heaven.’ 

Wayne told ABC 6 that Ryan had served right out of high school for five years with special training in Psychology Operations. 

Ryan’s stepmother, Lianne Knauss, added that Ryan told them he was looking forward to returning to the U.S. and moving to Washington D.C. 

‘He was a super-smart hilarious young man,’ she said. 

Knauss, 23, right, said he wanted to move to Washington D.C. when he returned

Knauss, 23, right, said he wanted to move to Washington D.C. when he returned

Knauss, 23, right, said he wanted to move to Washington D.C. when he returned 

Members of the Knauss family mourned Ryan's death on social media

Members of the Knauss family mourned Ryan's death on social media

Members of the Knauss family mourned Ryan’s death on social media

U.S. Representative Tim Burchett, a fellow Knoxville resident, also tweeted a tribute to the fallen marine. 

‘Ryan gave his life outside that airport helping people he didn’t know get to safety. This is what true heroism looks like and Ryan’s sacrifice will never be forgotten. The Knauss family is my prayers.’ Burchett wrote 

Diane Trulson Amundson Knauss also urged people to support Wayne and the troops in Afghanistan. 

‘Please pray for our military in Afghanistan and all over the world,’ she wrote. ‘Our hearts ache for Wayne and Neena… and all families.’ 

Corporal Daegan Page, 23 

Marine Corp. Daegan William-Tyeler Page, 23, was a native of Omaha, Nebraska

Marine Corp. Daegan William-Tyeler Page, 23, was a native of Omaha, Nebraska

Marine Corp. Daegan William-Tyeler Page, 23, was a native of Omaha, Nebraska

Marine Corp. Daegan William-Tyeler Page, 23, was a native of Omaha, Nebraska. 

In a statement, Page’s family confirmed that he was one of the slain service members at Kabul airport. 

‘Our hearts are broken, but we are thankful for the friends and family who are surrounding us during this time,’ the family said. 

‘Daegan’s girlfriend Jessica, his mom, dad, step-mom, step-dad, 4 siblings, and grandparents are all mourning the loss of a great son, grandson, and brother.’ 

Page grew up in Omaha and Red Oak, Iowa. He enjoyed playing hockey for Omaha Westside in the local hockey club and was a diehard Chicago Blackhawks fan.

He also oved hunting and spending time outside with his father. 

His family said he was a longtime Boy Scout who was eager to join the U.S. Marine Corps. 

‘Daegan joined the U.S. Marine Corps after graduating from Millard South High School. He loved the brotherhood of the Marines and was proud to serve as a member of the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California.’  

Corp. Daegan William-Tyeler Page died in the Kabul airport bombing attack

Corp. Daegan William-Tyeler Page died in the Kabul airport bombing attack

Corp. Daegan William-Tyeler Page died in the Kabul airport bombing attack

Page, left, was a Marine and member of the 2nd Battalion Marine Regiment

Page, left, was a Marine and member of the 2nd Battalion Marine Regiment

Page, left, was a Marine and member of the 2nd Battalion Marine Regiment

They added that Page was looking forward to coming home to see his family and friends. He also had plans to go to trade school, contemplating a career as a lineman. 

‘Daegan will always be remembered for his tough outer shell and giant heart. Our thoughts and prayers are also with the other Marine and Navy families whose loved ones died alongside Daegan,’ the family said. 

Shana Nicole, a friend of Page, added that ‘the world lost an amazing hero. 

‘My heart hurts for everyone who knew Daegan. He was so so kind always,’ she wrote on Facebook. 

The Omaha, Nebraska, native was looking forward to returning home, his family said

The Omaha, Nebraska, native was looking forward to returning home, his family said

The Omaha, Nebraska, native was looking forward to returning home, his family said 

Page, center, hoped to reunite with friends back home and go to trade school

Page, center, hoped to reunite with friends back home and go to trade school

Page, center, hoped to reunite with friends back home and go to trade school

Page, third from the left, rear, was drawn to the sense of brotherhood within the Marine Corps

Page, third from the left, rear, was drawn to the sense of brotherhood within the Marine Corps

Page, third from the left, rear, was drawn to the sense of brotherhood within the Marine Corps 

U.S. Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, who represents Page’s home district, also issued a statement mourning the loss of the young marine. 

‘I was just notified about the death of Marine Corporal Page. My heart was already broken over our country’s loss of 13 service members in Afghanistan. Now the loss is even harder,’ Fortenberry said. 

‘God bless Corporal Page. He saved lives and served his country honorably. His life was cut short but had ultimate meaning. By his bravery and will, many others will have a chance. I send my heartfelt condolences to his family.’ 

Corporal Humberto Sanchez, 22 

Marine Corp. Humberto Sanchez was among those killed

Marine Corp. Humberto Sanchez was among those killed

Marine Corp. Humberto Sanchez was among those killed

Officials in Indiana confirmed that Corp. Humberto Sanchez was also among the dead.

Sanchez graduated from Logansport High School in 2017. He also attended Columbia Elementary.

‘Like many, I have been heartbroken over the recent loss of the 13 U.S. service members who were murdered in the terrorist attacks against our evacuation efforts in Kabul, Afghanistan,’ Logansport Mayor Chris Martin said in a statement on Facebook.

‘Even more heartbreaking is learning the news today that one of those killed was from right here at home in Logansport, Indiana.

‘This young man had not yet even turned 30 and still had his entire life ahead of him. Any plans he may have had for his post-military life were given in sacrifice due to the heart he exhibited in putting himself into harm’s way to safeguard the lives of others.’

Adrian Gazcon, a friend, also wrote a tribute on Twitter for Sanchez, saying that ‘it hurts that he’s gone.’ ‘Thank you for your service, you’re a hero bro.’  

Sanchez pictured carrying friend Rhiannon Rickerd while attending Logansport High School

Sanchez pictured carrying friend Rhiannon Rickerd while attending Logansport High School

Sanchez pictured carrying friend Rhiannon Rickerd while attending Logansport High School

A friend posted a tribute to Sanchez when he learned about his death

A friend posted a tribute to Sanchez when he learned about his death

A friend posted a tribute to Sanchez when he learned about his death

 

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Tips to Find Low Priced Luxury Holiday Package Deals Fast

For most families, it has already been a common practice to spend the Holiday season in a foreign location. This is caused by the aviation market changes which have given a lot of benefits for people who travel a lot. Airfares going to different tourist destinations are becoming more inexpensive. What does this mean? If there is a perfect time to purchase luxury holiday package deals, now it the right time! Based on the market trend nowadays, you can save both money and time when you go for a luxury holiday. There are countless offers that combine travel and accommodation in one package which is a lot cheaper than getting separate deals. Aside from that, it is also risky to individually book the services that you need for the vacation. You might end up missing out on some important details of the trip. Unlike when you take advantage of luxury holiday package deals, you can be sure that everything is organized meticulously and according to what you really need. Nonetheless, you would still need to carefully select the package that would fit your needs. Review the following tips in getting packages that are reasonably priced. · Normally, luxury tour packages include accommodation, flight travel and transportation to individual tourist destinations. It would be best to choose the complete package so you won’t have to worry about other vacation elements. In addition to that, these are the packages that have the biggest discounts. · You can get big mark down prices, if you will purchase more packages. It is not a bad idea to share the wonderful moment with your loved ones. By doing so, you would not only enjoy, you will also save more money. You can even use your savings for other activities on your vacation. · It would be best to know how much you are willing to pay for the luxury tour packages. You can already work around your budget. You have to stick to your budget. If not, you might end up spending a lot and you will be left with less money for your vacation. · Prices may vary depending on the destination of the tour. You can do a research about places that are attractive yet inexpensive. There are thousands of destinations and you just have to choose wisely. · There are packages that include recreational activities. This means that you are paying for all the activities when you purchase these packages. The right thing to do is to make sure that the activities that are included would be the ones that you really enjoy. There is no sense in paying for activities that will not really make your vacation memorable. If you are going with friends, you should also consider their preferences so that you can be sure that everyone will enjoy the trip. There are other ways on how you can be sure that you are getting the best deal for your luxury holiday vacation. No matter how you choose to do it, you have to get adequate information about the packages. This will help you determine whether it is worth the price.

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