The Pentagon announced on Wednesday that the US will honor the service members who performed military missions to evacuate and resettle Afghans during the chaotic US pullout last year.
President Joe Biden instructed US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III to recognize the members of the military, according to the Pentagon’s press secretary, Patrick Ryder, during a press conference.
The “Meritorious Unit Commendation” or its equivalent will be given to US troops who participated in the evacuation process of Afghanistan, according to the statement.
The US defense official, Lloyd Austin, reportedly stated that he has also directed an expedited evaluation of all units stationed at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul between August 15–30, 2021, to ascertain whether those units or specific soldiers will be awarded the prestigious Presidential Unit Citation.
“That mission included the service of those who took on the responsibility to help evacuate more than 124,000 Afghans during one of the largest, most difficult, and most dangerous humanitarian operations in U.S. military history,” Austin said.
He claimed that no other military could have rescued so many lives in such a short period and under such difficult conditions.
According to a statement from the Pentagon, 13 US service soldiers were killed in an attack on the Abbey gate to the Kabul International Airport, thus the mission was not without a sacrifice.
A suicide strike by the ISIS-Khorasan branch outside the Kabul airport claimed the lives of 13 American soldiers and close to 170 Afghan civilians during the evacuation process.
The Taliban, meanwhile, hailed the departure of foreign troops as their “victory” and commemorated the first anniversary of American troop departure from Afghanistan.
Hibatullah Akhundzada the supreme leader of the Taliban and other senior figures have consistently called for improved relations with the US and other countries during the first year of the Taliban rule in Afghanistan.