The top US general spoke directly to troops who have served in Afghanistan, saying "to each of you, your service mattered," as he mourned the service members who were killed in the 20-year mission, including the 13 troops killed in last Thursday's bombing.
Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley and Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman Ramon Colon-Lopez told service members in a letter written to the military Tuesday that "you can hold your head high that we prevented an attack on the United States homeland."
Earlier Tuesday, President Biden remarked that 800,000 Americans have served in Afghanistan during two decades of fighting. During that time, 2,641 US troops lost their lives, while 20,744 were injured in combat.
One day after the withdrawal of the last US forces from Afghanistan, Milley wrote, "11 Marines, a Soldier, and a Navy Corpsman paid the ultimate price to save over 124,000 people and gave them an opportunity to live in freedom."
"Your actions honor the sacrifice of our brothers and sisters in arms who lost their lives or were wounded in Afghanistan. Over the last two decades and the last 2 weeks, you embodied our American values of equality, liberty, and human dignity for all."