In 2009 an Al Qaida double agent run by the Central Intelligence Agency staged a suicide attack on a CIA base near Khost, Afghanistan. Virtually the entire complement of that base was killed or wounded in the attack. That attack was made possible by a series of grave operational mistakes by senior officers on the ground in Afghanistan and at Headquarters.
In the aftermath of the attack, the CIA conducted a review of what had happened. No one was disciplined. No one was fired. Covering for the senior officers responsible took precedence over the lives of the brave men and women killed and wounded in the attack.
During last year’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, a suicide bomber detonated a bomb outside a gate to the Kabul airport. Thirteen brave Americans died. Many more were wounded.
Days ago, the Pentagon released the results of its investigation into this incident. During the briefing that followed, this assessment was offered.
“Based on our investigation at the tactical level, this was not preventable and the leaders on the ground followed the proper measures, and any time there was an imminent threat warning they followed the proper procedures: they lowered their profile, they sought cover, and at times, they even ceased operations at the gate.”The Washington Post
Press outlets around the world echoed this assessment. There was nothing that could have been done to prevent these Americans from being killed.
This is a lie. It is a political statement designed to hide the obvious, ugly truth. The men who died in the suicide blast in Kabul were killed by the Biden administration and by those cowardly senior military officers who went along with the disastrous decisions of an incompetent administration filled with men and women who care more for our enemies than they do for our own people.
Attempting to evacuate Americans and Afghan refugees from Kabul airport after the fall of the city to the Taliban was a militarily indefensible decision. The airport sits in a valley surrounded by high ground. There is no standoff distance around the airport to allow for the employment of normal, well-established security practices.
It was from the very beginning a disaster waiting to happen.
There were other options. Retaking Bagram airbase, unwisely abandoned weeks before, was entirely possible. That would have provided a secure base from which to operate. It would have allowed for the presence of tactical aircraft in whatever numbers we deemed necessary, close at hand.
That option was considered. It was presented to Joe Biden and his mandarins. They ruled it out. They mandated that the evacuation would proceed using only Kabul.
The results of that decision were catastrophic. Thousands upon thousands of Afghans flocked to the airport. Attempting to keep them at a reasonable distance and determine who they were and what they might be carrying became an exercise in futility. Every security principle developed in decades of conflict with terrorist organizations was discarded.
In desperation, we resorted to asking for the assistance of the Taliban in screening people and preventing them from killing our people. Briefers at the release of the report on the suicide attack provided these insights. (The Chevron is a physical structure built near the airport perimeter to enhance security. Abbey is a reference to a particular gate.)
“As originally intended, potential evacuees would approach the Abbey corridor from the southwest and would be met by Taliban members outside the Chevron, where the Taliban would conduct an initial search and inspect their documentation.”
“In the center of the photo, six shipping containers are arrayed in the shape of a Chevron. And on top are several Taliban members holding security as they did throughout the operation. On the left side there’s a vehicle lane used primarily by the U.K. And on the right side is a lane the Marines utilized as a holding area for potential evacuees.”
“As conditions on the ground changed the process for evacuee flow at the gate evolved. One of the reasons the process evolved was the Taliban became less and less cooperative at the Chevron. And Marines reported during interviews that there were entire days where not a single U.S. document holder entered through the Chevron.”
“Marines also reported seeing the Taliban turn potential evacuees away, beating potential evacuees and even made allegations of Taliban shooting at potential evacuees.”
We put our people in a trap at the bottom of a valley surrounded by an army of terrorists with whom we had been at war for twenty years and then we asked those terrorists to keep us safe.
As Senator Tom Cotton commented via Twitter, “No one in their right mind would have closed Bagram Air Base while leaving behind thousands of civilians. But that’s what Joe Biden did.”
Incredibly, to this day our senior military officers appear to think this was a reasonable decision. They continue to believe that the Taliban acted in good faith.
When asked how he could defend his assertion that the attack was not done with the approval or knowledge of the Taliban, General Curtis, one of the briefers, provided this response. (The meeting to which he refers is a meeting with senior Taliban leaders that occurred at the Kabul airport a little over a half-hour before the suicide attack.)
“Q: General Curtis, how can you rule out that the Taliban did not know that this bomber was heading in that direction? Is it possible that the bomber knew about the 5 o’clock meeting and was just late and (is?) trying to disrupt that meeting? And how — later when you say that it was quickly determined that Taliban were not involved by the Marines there, how can you say that? What evidence do you have?”
GEN. CURTIS: The meeting, once again, that occurred at 1700, 36 minutes before the blast. This was also an opportunity for the Taliban to share any information that they had with U.S. forces, and our best indicators are that they did that. We don’t have any evidence through the course of our investigation that leads us to believe that the Taliban knew about this attack.”Defense.gov
In short, the Taliban would have told us if someone was going to attack. ‘They are our new friends. We trust them.’
When you take on the task of commanding men and women in harm’s way you accept the moral responsibility that goes with it. They follow your orders. You do everything in your power to keep them safe and get them home to their loved ones alive.
That responsibility outweighs any other consideration. It is more important than your career, your next fitness evaluation, or your next promotion. You tell the truth. You insist others do as well.
This “President” failed our men and women in uniform in Kabul just as he failed the entire nation. The senior leaders at the Pentagon who claim to be defenders of the republic know that better than anyone. Time for some of them to have the courage to stand up, offer their resignations and say so.
Time to stop covering for Joe.