CENTCOM Rules Suicide Bombing As We Pulled Out of Afghanistan Was ‘Not Preventable’

Comdas / shutterstock.com
Comdas / shutterstock.com

US Central Command’s (CENTCOM) investigation into the August 26, 2021, bombing at Afghanistan’s Kabul International Airport is complete. In their investigation, they contend that the Abbey Gate sniper teams did not have the suicide bomber in their sights, and as such, the bombing was “not preventable” on a tactical level. Interviewing over 50 eyewitnesses, they wanted answers for the loss of life of 13 US troops and 170 Afghan civilians.

As noted by CENTCOM, “The review also focused on the Taliban’s use of excessive force and the decision to consolidate the defensive perimeter around Abbey Gate before the attack.” From this review, they uncovered the attack “was not preventable at the tactical level without degrading the mission to maximize the number of evacuees.”

CENTCOM cited five specific areas that caused the inability to detect the threat.

“Leaders at Abbey Gate were present, engaged, and made sound tactical decisions; The suicide bomber was not previously identified in the crowd, nor was there an opportunity for service members to engage him prior to the attack on August 26, 2021; Though unable to be ruled out completely, it is unlikely that an IED test run occurred outside Abbey Gate on August 21, 2021; Taliban forces outside Abbey Gate used excessive force that resulted in civilian deaths; The new information obtained during the review did not materially impact the findings in the November 2021 Abbey Gate 15-6 investigation and the supplemental review team did not recommend any modifications to those findings.”

With 13 service members visiting 24 sites and conducting 50 interviews, they concluded their interviews on January 13th. For many who were there or who served with those who were, these findings don’t add up. While few have been willing to blame the snipers, the narrative that higher-ups were helpless is a blatant lie to them. It’s shameful that those at the top are unwilling to accept the consequences of their actions.