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First lady Jill Biden. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

First lady Jill Biden released her first statement on the U.S. withdrawing from Afghanistan and Thursday's attack in Kabul Friday afternoon.

Why it matters: In her role as first lady, Biden has prioritized military-focused initiatives. She said the attack in Kabul, which killed at least 13 U.S. troops, "left us with the stinging reality of the ultimate sacrifice you are willing to make."

  • "Afghanistan has been woven through your life ... You watched loved ones board a plane to Kabul or Kandahar, and wondered if you’d ever see them again. Too many of you lost a piece of your heart forever there. This mission is personal to you, and you have shouldered its enormous weight," she said.
  • "We’ve seen service members sharing water and food with Afghan children waiting at the Kabul airport. We’ve seen military families welcoming Afghan refugees home to the United States with donations and friendship."
"As our mission in Afghanistan comes to an end, you may be experiencing many emotions. Know that my heart is with you as you navigate what comes next for your family, your community, and our nation. You are not alone."

The big picture: Biden, whose stepsons served in the U.S. military, has long supported military initiatives, dating back to her days as second lady.

Go deeper

Zalmay Khalilzad steps down as Afghanistan envoy

Photo: Susan Walsh-Pool/Getty Images

Zalmay Khalilzad stepped down as special envoy for Afghanistan peace talks on Monday, two months after the Taliban seized control of Kabul in a disastrous conclusion to the 20-year war in Afghanistan.

Why it matters: Khalilzad was the architect of the Trump administration's 2019 peace deal with the Taliban, which the head of U.S. Central Command called "the primary accelerant to lowering morale and general efficiency of the Afghan military."

13 mins ago - World

Biden's ambassador nominee: "China is not an Olympian power"

Nick Burns testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden's nominee to serve as ambassador to China delivered a stark assessment of the challenges the U.S. faces in confronting Beijing, but stressed that the rising superpower is "not all-powerful" and the West retains "substantial" advantages.

The big picture: Nicholas Burns, a retired career diplomat and former U.S. ambassador to NATO, used his confirmation hearing Wednesday to echo the growing bipartisan consensus that China poses "the greatest threat to the security of our country and the democratic world" in the 21st century.

Scoop: U.S. and Israel to form team to solve consulate dispute

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (left) and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (right) meet in Washington. Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. and Israel are planning to form a joint team to hold discreet negotiations on the reopening of the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, Israeli officials say.

Why it matters: The consulate handled relations with the Palestinians for 25 years before being shut down by then President Donald Trump in 2019. Senior officials in Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's government see the consulate issue as a political hot potato that could destabilize their unwieldy coalition.