BY PAULA TRACY, InDepthNH.org
CONCORD – Gov. Chris Sununu ordered flags in the state to fly at half-staff Thursday after suicide bombers attacked and killed U.S. troops and citizens trying to flee Afghanistan while members of the state’s congressional delegation reacted to the terrorist attack.
Sununu said he made the decision in accordance with President Joe Biden’s proclamation. The order pertains to all public buildings and grounds in the state. The honor, in memory of those who perished, will continue until sunset, August 30.
“The news of today’s horrific terrorist attack in Kabul is heartbreaking,” said Sununu.
He said both he and his wife, Valerie, “join with all Granite Staters in praying for those who lost their lives serving our country and their families. Words cannot express how grateful we are for their service and sacrifice.”
The Washington Post said U.S. troops are bracing for more attacks after 13 of their own were killed outside Kabul airport and scores of civilians were killed after two suicide bombers detonated devices. The Post said Friday: “U.S. troops in Kabul are bracing for more Islamic State attacks that could include car bombs or rocket fire at the airport, even as evacuation efforts wind down, a top U.S. commander said.”
Associated Press reported on Friday morning at least 169 citizens attempting to flee Afghanistan were killed.
U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-NH, said her heart breaks for those who lost loved ones in the attack and she called the deadline of Aug. 31 for U.S. withdrawal “arbitrary.”
U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, D-NH, was among the first member of the state delegation to react to the coordinated terrorist attacks.
“I join the nation in mourning the loss of the brave U.S. service members killed in today’s horrific terror attacks in Kabul. My heart breaks for the families and loved ones of those who made the ultimate sacrifice and those who were wounded. Our thoughts are with the U.S. military, diplomatic, and intelligence personnel who are working tirelessly through incredibly difficult circumstances to evacuate Americans, allies, and vulnerable Afghan citizens. The bloodshed today is a heartbreaking reminder of the sacrifice that American service members make each and every day to keep us safe.”
U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, said she was horrified by the attack and noted that the U.S. “is up against the clock” to evacuate all to safety by the end of August.
She has criticized the Biden Administration for its approach to ending the 20-year battle and has expressed concern for the children and women of Afghanistan who will now be left to the Taliban, which has a horrible human rights record.
In addition to condemning the terrorist attack, Congressman Chris Pappas, D-NH, led 63 lawmakers is calling on Secretary of State Antony Blinken to expand the Department of State’s priority refugee designation and to evacuate gay Afghans.
“With the Taliban’s takeover of the country, LGBTQ+ Afghans face the prospect of violent death. Sharia law, cemented in Afghanistan’s constitution, prohibits all forms of same-sex activity and makes same-sex activity punishable by death. Just as it was for ISIS in Iraq, Sharia law is the Taliban’s guiding compass as it establishes its rule over Afghanistan’s government and society,” wrote the lawmakers. “In the spirit of upholding our values and leading by example, we urge you to expand the Department of State’s P-2 designation granting USRAP access for Afghan nationals to explicitly include LGBTQ+ Afghans. While we appreciate that the situation in Afghanistan is fluid, you have the power to protect the lives of countless LGBTQ+ Afghans from the horrors they face…”