Lawmakers react to attacks in Kabul
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Local lawmakers are reacting to the attacks by suicide bombers and gunmen in Kabul, Afghanistan that killed at least 12 U.S. servicemembers Thursday.
Gov. Kathy Hochul:
"The cowardly attack on innocent civilians and selfless service members at Hamid Karzai International Airport struck at the heart of our democracy and freedom itself. New Yorkers have sacrificed their safety to serve in Afghanistan since 9/11, and our thoughts are with the families of everyone killed in today’s horrific act—both the civilians seeking freedom and the service members working to defend that freedom.
"I’ve ordered flags on all state buildings to be flown at half-staff tomorrow, August 27, in memory of the service members and innocent civilians killed today. This memorial act is concurrent with the half-staff order already in place in honor of New York State Police Trooper James J. Monda, who died in the line of duty on the Great Sacandaga Lake on Sunday. I’ve also directed my team to follow the attack in Kabul closely should we learn that any of the victims were New Yorkers.
"I’ve travelled to Afghanistan as a member of Congress, and I can say with certainty that the people of Kabul and all the American service members and our allies working to protect innocent lives there right now are in New Yorkers’ hearts and prayers. May God bless them."
Hochul also directed all flags on state buildings to be flown at half-staff on Friday.
Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt:
"As a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, it has been extremely difficult to watch the devastating loss of American lives in Kabul. My heart breaks for their families and loved ones.
"This terrorist attack is a painful reminder that extremists are intent on killing Americans. The President’s total lack of leadership has turned our evacuation efforts into an all-out retreat, empowered terrorists, and put America and her allies at risk.
"It is now up to this administration to find and bring to justice those who are responsible for this heinous attack on our fellow Americans."
Rep. Tom Reed (R-Geneva):
"Our prayers go out to our men and women of the military in Afghanistan and specifically those heroic soldiers that were killed today in Kabul. This is a horrific reminder of the Biden Administration’s failure in conducting the withdrawal from Afghanistan. This administration has American blood on its hands and must be held to account. Further, now is not the time for "political spin" and "poll-tested decisions," these are real lives being lost that demand true leadership. Let’s pray to God that this leadership emerges."
Greece Town Supervisor Bill Reilich:
“I am deeply saddened by the news of 12 U.S. Service Members and dozens of civilians killed in a terrorist attack outside the Kabul airport in Afghanistan. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and families of this horrific event. Lowering the flags to half-staff in the Town of Greece is the least we can do at this time to show our deep respect and sorrow for all those affected.”
Reilich also instructed all flags on Town Hall properties to be lowered to half-staff.
U.S. Rep. John Katko (R,NY-24):
"Today is a dark day in U.S. history. Words cannot fully express my devastation over the loss of innocent lives in today’s attacks in Kabul. Our U.S. servicemembers put their lives on the line to carry out their mission under impossibly difficult circumstances. Our brave Marines were left exposed, relying on Taliban forces to provide security, while executing an incredibly heroic and challenging humanitarian mission of unprecedented magnitude. Let’s be clear: we cannot trust the Taliban with American lives. As Americans prepare to reflect on the pain, loss, and devastation of the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11th that still shake us to the core, we now grieve a significant, yet avoidable, loss for our nation. Now is the time to pray and express our gratitude for the sacrifice of these servicemembers and their families, as well as for the safety of those who remain at risk in Afghanistan this very hour. We are a nation indebted to them for their service and sacrifice to save thousands of lives. The time will come when President Biden and his administration will have to answer many urgent questions and I can promise that the Committee on Homeland Security will be actively gathering answers for the families of these servicemembers and the American people.”