A US soldier killed in Afghanistan this week posted a haunting message on social media before his death.
Maxton Soviac, a Navy medic in his 20s, was among 13 US troops killed by a suicide bombing outside Kabul airport on Thursday, which also claimed the lives of more than 160 Afghans.
The US has since fired a drone strike, on Saturday, against an Islamic State member in Nangahar believed to be involved in planning attacks against the US in Kabul.
Mr Soviac’s family confirmed his death to NBC in a statement describing him as "a wonderful son".
He posted about his deployment on Instagram in June and was pictured in full uniform.
“It’s kill or be killed, definitely trynna (sic) be on the kill side,” he wrote.
Marilyn Soviac, who’s believed to be Mr Soviac’s sister, wrote about his death on Facebook, pointing out he was a medic and “there to help people”.
“He was just a kid,” she wrote.
“We are sending kids over there to die. Kids with families that now have holes just like ours. I’m not one for praying but damn could those kids over there use some right now.
“My heart is in pieces and I don’t think they’ll ever fit back right again.”
Men in their 20s killed in bombing
Many of those killed were aged in their 20s like Mr Soviac. Three of them were just 20 years old. Eleven Marines, one Navy sailor and one Army soldier were among the dead, while 18 other US service members were wounded in the bombing.
The US said it was the most lethal day for American forces in Afghanistan since 2011. The White House said President Joe Biden will look for opportunities to honour the service members who lost their lives.
Rylee McCollum, 20, was married and due to become a dad in three weeks, according this sister Cheyenne McCollum.
“He was so excited to be a dad, and he was going to be a great dad,” Ms McCollum said.
She said her brother “was a Marine before he knew he was allowed to be a Marine ... He’d carry around his toy rifle and wear his sister’s pink princess snow boots and he’d either be hunting or he was a Marine. Sometimes it would be with nothing on underneath, just a T-shirt.”
Jared Schmitz, 20, was in Afghanistan as a member of the marines assisting with evacuations, his dad Mark Schmitz, told KMOX Radio.
Mr Schmitz said his son always wanted to be a Marine. He said he learned of his son’s death when the Marines came to his home in Wentzville, Missouri, at 2.40am Friday (local time).
“This was something he always wanted to do, and I never seen a young man train as hard as he did to be the best soldier he could be,” Mr Schmitz said.
“His life meant so much more. I’m so incredibly devastated that I won’t be able to see the man that he was very quickly growing into becoming.”
US President Joe Biden told reporters at the White House: “we will not forgive, we will not forget”.
“We will hunt you down and make you pay," he said.
with Reuters and The Associated Press
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