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Utah leaders react to Kabul attacks: 'This loss of life tears at our collective soul'

Smoke rises from a deadly explosion outside of the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Thursday. Two
suicide bombers and gunmen targeted crowds massing near the Kabul airport.

Smoke rises from a deadly explosion outside of the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Thursday. Two suicide bombers and gunmen targeted crowds massing near the Kabul airport. (Wali Sabawoon, Associated Press)



SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's leaders reacted with messages of heartbreak and prayers after the horrific terrorist attacks outside the Kabul airport on Thursday.

Two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of Afghans flocking to Kabul's airport Thursday, transforming a scene of desperation into one of horror in the waning days of an airlift for those fleeing the Taliban takeover, the Associated Press reported. At least 60 Afghans and 13 U.S. troops were killed in the attacks.

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney said his "heart breaks" for U.S. service members wounded or killed by the explosion, as well as the "innocent Afghan lives lost."

"I am inspired by the strength and compassion of our troops and pray for their safety," Romney tweeted.

Those who lost their lives "represented the very best and finest of America, laying down their lives to aid the most vulnerable in perilous circumstances," Romney said in another tweet. "This loss of life tears at our collective soul."

Afghans lie on beds at a hospital after they were wounded in the deadly attacks outside the airport in Kabul,
Afghanistan, Thursday. Two suicide bombers and
gunmen attacked crowds of Afghans flocking to Kabul’s airport
Thursday, transforming a scene of desperation into one of horror in
the waning days of an airlift for those fleeing the Taliban
takeover.
Afghans lie on beds at a hospital after they were wounded in the deadly attacks outside the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday. Two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of Afghans flocking to Kabul’s airport Thursday, transforming a scene of desperation into one of horror in the waning days of an airlift for those fleeing the Taliban takeover. (Photo: Mohammad Asif Khan, Associated Press)

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox issued a statement saying he and his wife, Abby Cox, were "deeply saddened" to hear about the casualties, both U.S. service members and civilians.

"We owe an immense debt of gratitude to the women and men in uniform who serve us so well and who are helping Afghan refugees flee from tyranny," Cox said. "Our prayers are with all of our U.S. service members and their loved ones."

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, also offered his prayers for those killed and wounded.

"Their sacrifice will never be forgotten," Lee tweeted. "It is our duty to protect those Americans still in Afghanistan and those who have helped us in this fight against evil."

Rep. Burgess Owens, R-Utah, who sits on the House Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, tweeted "there are no words to describe what an utterly devastating day this is for our country."

"I am heartsick for the families of our fallen heroes and continue to pray for them and for our troops, Americans, and allies who remain in harm's way," Owens said.

Owens called on Utahns to "join me in praying for the safety" of U.S. service members, American citizens and Afghan people in Kabul. He also said his team "stands ready to help," urging anyone who needs help to call his office at 801-999-9801 or 202-225-3011.

President Joe Biden pauses as he listens to a question
about the bombings at the Kabul airport that killed at least 12
U.S. service members, from the East Room of the White House,
Thursday, in Washington.
President Joe Biden pauses as he listens to a question about the bombings at the Kabul airport that killed at least 12 U.S. service members, from the East Room of the White House, Thursday, in Washington. (Photo: Evan Vucci, Associated Press)

Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, placed blame, tweeting there's "no excuse for the incompetence displayed by the Biden Administration throughout this disastrous withdrawal."

Stewart, who sits on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence's Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation subcommittee, called for the Kabul airport to be secured and all Americans and allies evacuated "by any means necessary."

Rep. Blake Moore, R-Utah, also called the scene in Kabul "heartbreaking," offering prayers from himself and his team.

Utah Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson also tweeted a statement expressing her grief for those killed by the attacks.

"I'm so thankful for the women and men in uniform who are defending our country and helping Afghan refugees," she said. "I'm praying for all our U.S. service members and their families."

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Katie McKellar

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