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President Biden listens to a question after his address yesterday. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Tragically, 20 years on, America isn't near done in Afghanistan.

Why it matters: President Biden was determined to finally exit — "time to end the forever war," he said in April as he announced the U.S. would be out of Afghanistan by next month's 20th anniversary of 9/11.

Now, the U.S. must deliver on Biden's vow of retribution for yesterday's calamity at the Kabul airport gate — amid fears Afghanistan will become a renewed launch pad for terrorism against the West.

  • "Bottom line is that our work is not done in Afghanistan," Leon Panetta, SecDef and CIA director under President Obama, said on CNN. "We're going to have to go back in to get ISIS."

On top of that, at least 250,000 Afghans who worked with the U.S. have yet to be evacuated, the N.Y. Times calculates.

  • Efforts to deliver on commitments to those brave allies will go on for years, people involved in clandestine private projects tell me.

Biden told the ISIS-K terrorists are believed to be behind the twin suicide bombings, followed by an attack by gunmen, that killed at least 95 Afghans and 13 U.S. service members: "We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay." 

Satellite image: Planet Labs. Map: AP

At a Pentagon briefing, Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, commander of U.S. Central Command, had said: "If we can find who's associated with this, we will go after them. ... 24/7, we are looking for them."

Panetta told CNN's Erin Burnett that U.S. counterterrorism operations must persist past Tuesday's exit deadline:

  • "We're probably going to have to go back in when al-Qaeda resurrects itself, as they will with this Taliban."
  • "[W]e can leave a battlefield, but we can't leave the war on terrorism."

McKenzie, the Central Command commander, said he expects the ISIS attacks to continue.

Photo: Asvaka News Agency via Reuters

Above: Crowds near Kabul airport on Monday.

Go deeper: U.S. relies on Taliban cooperation to complete mission in Kabul

Editors note: This headline has been updated. A previous version misattributed a quote to Biden.

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Go deeper

28 U.S. citizens depart Afghanistan on Qatar Airways flight

Passengers board a Qatar Airways aircraft bound to Qatar at the airport in Kabul on September 10, 2021. Photo: Aamir Qureshi/AFP via Getty Images

The State Department on Saturday confirmed that a Qatar Airways charter flight left Kabul on Friday with 28 U.S. citizens and seven lawful permanent residents on board.

The big picture: Friday's flight is the third such airlift by Qatar Airways since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, AP reports.

House Democrats strip Iron Dome money from government funding bill

Photographer: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House Democrats on Tuesday stripped $1 billion for Israel's Iron Dome defense system from its short-term government funding bill after backlash from progressives, people familiar with the decision tell Axios.

Why it matters: There has never a situation where military aid for Israel was held up because of objections from members of Congress. While the funding will likely get a vote in a future defense bill, the clash underscores the deep divisions within the Democratic party over Israel.

Oversight Board calls for more Facebook transparency

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Facebook Oversight Board on Tuesday called on the social media giant to "commit to transparency" in the wake of a Wall Street Journal report last week that millions of high-profile users get special treatment by content moderators.

Why it matters: Although initially funded by Facebook, the Oversight Board operates independently as a kind of Supreme Court for the platform. The company has agreed to obey its rulings on specific content disputes, but the board's broader policy advice is strictly on a "recommendation" basis.