(NewsNation) — The Pentagon is revisiting its investigation into the deadly bombing outside Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport, which happened during the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021.
Although the initial investigation stated there was no way to stop the bombing at Abbey Gate that killed 13 service members and 170 Afghans, several people involved have said there were opportunities to prevent it.
Members of the House Armed Services Committee in Congress had some questions and doubted the Pentagon’s ultimate conclusion the attack could not be prevented. Families of those 13 service members who died have been calling for more scrutiny into the bombing as well.
Now, Pentagon officials plan to go back and speak with service members who survived the attack but were never interviewed for the initial report.
Documents show there were at least two requests by American intelligence officers on the ground to take out the ISIS-K cell that ultimately conducted the suicide bombing. In addition, it was found that American intelligence on the ground had a very specific location for where that cell was located: a hotel two or three kilometers from Abbey Gate.
US intelligence officers asked American forces to do a strike on that location. Days before that, American officials asked the Taliban to do a strike on that ISIS-K cell, but the Taliban refused.
In addition, American intelligence officers knew, almost to the specific hour, when this attack was going to happen. While they called out 4 p.m., it actually ended up happening at 5:30.
What information the Pentagon is going to get from the service members remains to be seen.
One of the high-profile members investigators are going to go back and talk to is Tyler Vargas-Andrews. Vargas-Andrews is a Marine sniper who said under oath at a congressional hearing that he had the person who he believed to be the suicide bomber in his sights. Although Vargas-Andrews thought he had a clear shot at the bomber and requested to take it, he was never given the green light.
Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has been the driving force in Congress behind questioning the Pentagon on the Abbey Gate bombing.
“I’m pleased (the Department of Defense) is expanding its Abbey Gate investigation, but it should not have taken two years,” McCaul said. “And it should not have taken both the Gold Star families and Sgt. Tyler Vargas-Andrews speaking to our committee to make this happen.”
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