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Army veteran, now congressman frustrated by situation in Afghanistan

Rep. Michael Waltz, a Republican who represents Florida’s 6th district, is a Jacksonville native

Multiple bombings took the lives of a dozen American military members Thursday in Kabul and more than 60 Afghans were killed.

President Joe Biden says he stands by his decision to withdraw and end a 20-year war, and while he says the evacuation mission will continue, he also said the military will strike back at ISIS-K -- the terror group believed to be responsible for the attack in Kabul.

“Here’s what you need to know: These ISIS terrorists will not win. We will rescue the Americans. We will get our Afghan allies and our mission will go on. America will not be intimidated,” Biden said.

RELATED: Biden vows to finish Kabul evacuation, avenge US deaths

Many Americans are infuriated by the violence and chaos at the Kabul airport. That anger pairs with grief from veterans like Rep. Michael Waltz, a Republican from Jacksonville who represents Florida’s 6th District.

The Green Beret and now congressman is frustrated.

“The intelligence community was clear as of yesterday that it’s not a matter of if Al-Qaeda comes back, it’s just when. Except now we have no bases in the region, we gave them away. We have no local allies, they are being hunted down,” Waltz said. “And the thing that’s so darn infuriating is that future soldiers are going to have to go back and fight through billions of dollars of American equipment that a terrorist army now has.”

Waltz served multiple combat tours in Afghanistan, and has a message for his fellow veterans who are frustrated or heartbroken.

Listen, I want them to hear me, crystal clear, to all of that experience -- your sacrifice was not in vain,” Waltz said. “An entire generation of Americans have grown up now in peace, without the threat of planes flying into buildings, without the threat of suicide bombers in schools, without the threat of terrorism coming home. And so they should be proud of that.”

At least 140 injuries have been blamed on the attack at the airport.

Biden said Thursday that the evacuation effort has seen more than 100,000 American citizens, partners, Afghan allies, and others removed from the country in the past 11 days.

Biden’s withdrawal deadline is August 31.

About the Author:

Kent Justice co-anchors News4Jax's 5 p.m., 10 and 11 p.m. newscasts weeknights and reports on government and politics. He also hosts "This Week in Jacksonville," Channel 4's hot topics and politics public affairs show each Sunday morning at 9 a.m.