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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Report Claims Unpreventable Bombing at Afghanistan Airport Resulted in 13 Troop Deaths, Including One from Utah



A recent review⁢ by​ U.S. Central Command has concluded that the devastating suicide bombing at Kabul airport in August 2021, which claimed the lives of‌ U.S. troops and Afghans, including a Marine from ⁢Utah, ⁢could not have been prevented. The review also clarified that the “bald man in black”⁢ spotted by U.S. service members ⁤on ⁢the ⁢day of ‌the attack was not the bomber.

The report, released‍ on⁣ Monday, contradicts ‌claims by some service members who believed they had the opportunity ‌to​ neutralize the bomber but were not given the green light. ⁣The U.S. ‍military‌ has also confirmed for the first time that the bomber was Abdul Rahman al-Logari,‍ an Islamic​ State militant who had been incarcerated in an Afghan ‍prison but was‌ freed by the​ Taliban as they seized ⁣control⁢ of the country in the summer⁣ of 2021.

The bombing ‍at ‌the Abbey Gate​ during the final tumultuous days of the ​Afghanistan ​withdrawal resulted in the deaths of 13 U.S. service members and 170 Afghans, and left ⁢many more injured. Marine Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover, 31, from Utah, was leading his fellow Marines when the ⁣bombing claimed his life and the lives of 12 others.

The‍ incident sparked widespread debate and⁤ criticism from Congress, fueled by emotional testimony from ⁤a Marine injured in ‍the blast, ​who claimed that snipers ⁤believed they had identified the potential bomber but were not given permission to neutralize him.

Former Marine Sgt. Tyler Vargas-Andrews testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee last March that ​Marines and others involved in the evacuation were given descriptions of men believed to be planning an attack. ⁣Vargas-Andrews,​ who was injured in the​ blast but not interviewed in the initial ‍investigation, claimed⁤ that he and others spotted⁢ a man matching the description and could have potentially thwarted the attack, but their requests to take action were denied.

In​ a detailed briefing to​ a select group ‍of reporters, members of the ‍review team released photos ‌of the bald man identified by military snipers as⁤ a potential threat and compared them with photos of al-Logari. The team‌ members, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity to provide details not yet made public, explained the facial recognition and other​ analysis they used to confirm that the⁢ two individuals were not the ⁢same.

For the past two years, some ‍service members have claimed ⁣that they had the bomber in their‌ sights‌ and they could have prevented the⁢ attack. We now know that ‌is not correct.

–Team member

“For the past two years, ⁤some service members have ⁤claimed that they had ​the⁤ bomber in their sights and⁤ they ​could‍ have prevented the attack. We now know that is not correct,” a team member stated.

The ​team also showed the photo of the bald man to service members ​during the ​latest interviews, and the⁤ troops confirmed again that this was ⁤the suspicious ⁣man they had targeted.

The review indicates that the bald man was first spotted around 7 a.m. and ‍that troops lost sight of him by 10 a.m. The bombing occurred more than seven hours ⁢later, and⁤ the U.S. asserts that al-Logari didn’t arrive at Abbey ⁣Gate until “very shortly” ‍before the blast. They ⁣declined to‌ provide more specific timing details, citing classified information.

Family members of those‌ killed in the blast received ⁣similar briefings ‌over the past two weekends, and some remain skeptical.

“For ⁢me, personally, we are still not clear. I ⁣believe ​Tyler ​saw what Tyler saw and‍ he knows what he​ saw. And it was not the guy that they were claiming was the‍ man in black,” Jim​ McCollum, the father of Marine ⁢Lance Cpl. ​Rylee McCollum, told⁢ The Associated Press.

He added⁤ that the⁣ team went into “pretty good detail, not trying to discredit Tyler, ‍but effectively saying‍ he was wrong.‌ However, that ended up being as clear as mud⁤ to us.”

From 2021:

Mark Schmitz, the ⁤father ‍of⁢ Marine Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz, questioned the authenticity of the ⁤photo itself.

“They kept saying this is who Tyler Vargas-Andrews was looking at and we were thinking to ourselves, ‘well, that’s interesting. Why is this a picture‍ of a picture from a Canon camera?'”​ he said. “To me, it felt like they were trying to‌ find the guy⁤ in ⁤those cameras that‍ may have ‌come close to looking like somebody ​of‍ interest that they can try to sell to us.”

The ⁣families, however, also expressed relief at receiving more details about their loved ones’ deaths, stating that the initial briefings were not as informative.

Schmitz shared that Army Gen. Eric Kurilla, head⁤ of U.S. Central Command, was part of the ⁣latest briefing and apologized for how the families‍ were treated during the initial investigation. This time, officials⁣ were ⁤able to share with Schmitz for the first ⁢time exactly where his son was when‍ the bomb detonated and‌ that ⁤he was unconscious almost immediately, and⁤ therefore did not feel the impact of the shrapnel that ‌penetrated‍ his left torso,‌ hitting a primary artery.

“That to me was, first and foremost, the best⁤ news I could have gotten,” Schmitz⁤ said. “That gave me a little​ bit of closure that my son didn’t suffer, which made‌ me‌ feel really good.”

Team members also plan‌ to speak with the troops who were interviewed this‍ time to‌ share the results of the report.

The review could⁣ not entirely ⁢dismiss claims that ​militants conducted a test run of the bombing several days earlier. However, ⁣after⁢ reviewing photos and other intelligence, the team concluded ⁢it was unlikely that three ​men seen ⁤carrying a⁤ large bag — which troops deemed suspicious — were conducting a trial run.

On a broader‌ scale, the team stated that​ the ⁢review revealed ‌some new details, including ​more discussion about⁤ the possible bombing test run. But they said overall ‍it confirmed the findings of U.S. Central Command’s initial investigation into the ‌bombing: that it was not preventable and that ‍reports of threats prior to the bombing were too vague.

For instance, the new review noted that threat reports ⁣mentioned a possible bomber​ with groomed hair, wearing loose clothes, and carrying a black bag. That description, the review said, could have matched ⁣anyone in ​the enormous crowd desperately trying ​to ‍get into the airport.

The team conducted 52 interviews for⁣ the​ review —⁣ adding up to a total of⁣ 190 when the previous‌ investigation is included. Service members were asked about 64 ⁣questions, and the‌ sessions lasted between one hour and seven hours long.

A number of those questioned weren’t included in the original investigation, many because​ they were severely wounded in the attack. The new review was ordered‍ last September by Kurilla, largely due to ⁣criticism of the⁣ initial investigation ⁢and assertions that the⁣ deadly assault could​ have been stopped.

Truth Media Network
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