Twelve of the 13 US service members killed in the August 26 Kabul airport bombing were “9/11 babies”, according to media reports.
The Pentagon released their names and biographies on August 28. The victims, mostly aged from 20 to 25 years old, were born within a few years of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, which led the US to launch two lengthy and painful wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Xinhua news agency reported.
“They never knew a US that was not at war, never lived in the world before the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration, a country without ID checks in office buildings, metal detectors at schools, shoes X-rayed at the airport,” said a Washington Post report on Sunday.
“Our generation of Marines has been listening to the Iraq/Afghan vets tell their war stories for years,” Mallory Harrison, a friend of 23-year-old Marine Corps Sgt. Nicole L. Gee, one of the 13 dead, wrote on Facebook.
“It’s easy for that war and those stories to sound like something so distant — something that you feel like you’re never going to experience since you joined the Marine Corps during peacetime,” Harrison said.
IS-K, a radical affiliate of the Islamic State active in Afghanistan, had claimed responsibility for the deadly attack which also claimed some 170 Afghan lives outside the Kabul airport.
On Sunday, the remains of the 13 troops were brought back home to the US.
President Joe Biden, First Lady Jill Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley and other senior military officials attended a solemn ceremony at the Dover Air Force Base in Delaware state where the remains arrived.
The President and First Lady met privately with the families of the victims before observing flag-draped cases carrying 11 service members’ remains were loaded into vans.
The remains of two other fallen US service members were being brought home privately at the request of their families.
The White House said that around 111,900 people had left Afghanistan since August 14.
The US pullout from Afghanistan is set to be completed by August 31, the deadline set by President Joe Biden.