BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey said Thursday’s attack outside Kabul’s airport underscores just how dangerous the environment is for servicemen and women in Afghanistan. Markey said he supports President Biden’s August 31 deadline to leave the country.

“No matter when we left Afghanistan, we were going to have a very difficult time in removing all Americans and all of those Afghans who had worked with the United States government, ” Markey said. “So there was no good time to leave, but it is time to leave. It is time for this war to finally end.”

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U.S. officials said at least 13 service members were killed in an explosion at an airport entry gate. Fifteen service members were wounded.

U.S. Soldiers stand guard behind the fences as Afghan people who want to leave the country continue to wait around Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 26, 2021. (Photo by Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Congressman Jake Auchincloss, a Marine veteran who served in Afghanistan said, “The terrorist attack on the Kabul airport is an atrocity and the deaths of more U.S. service-members a tragedy. It is further proof that the Biden administration must complete evacuations, quickly, and sustain a robust counter-terrorism mission in Afghanistan, indefinitely.”

The attacks mark the deadliest day for U.S. service members since August 2011. President Joe Biden blamed Islamic extremists for the attack and vowed to avenge the deaths. “We will hunt you down and make you pay,” Biden said Thursday.

Marc Silvestri, Director of Veterans Services for Revere, served 13 months in a combat heavy outpost in Afghanistan. He saw the inherent problem at the airport.

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“The Taliban or ISIS-K couldn’t have planned it any better to have so many people in one spot to plan an attack,” Silvestri said. “It was heart wrenching today.”

Silvestri wanted to remind his fellow veterans their service was honorable.

“We have done and did something that was worth it,” Silvestri told WBZ. “Now’s the time to bring our soldiers home. We can’t afford to lose any more men and women.”

Massachusetts Congresswoman Katherine Clark said she was “devastated” by news of the attack. “My heart is with the families in mourning and those service members, allies, and civilians still on the ground,” Clark said. “We must continue the evacuation mission and urgently bring everyone to safety.”

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Governor Charlie Baker said he was deeply saddened by the horrific attack. “Our men and women in uniform do dangerous work in dangerous places,” Baker said. “They are heroes. I pray for their families, and I hope and pray for the safe return of all the men and women serving in Afghanistan.”

CBSBoston.com Staff