Minutes before the deadly explosion at Kabul airport during the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, a US Marine Corps sniper broke down in tears as he described how his warnings about a possible suicide bomber were ignored by politicians.
Sgt. Tyler Vargas-Andrews, a Marine sniper who served in Afghanistan during the US withdrawal, recalled the ordeal in testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday, telling members about the moment when he and a friend ” were killed with a flash and a massive wave of pressure”. “Following a suicide bombing at Kabul airport on August 26, 2021.
“I was thrown 12 feet to the ground, but immediately realized what had happened. I opened my eyes to dead or unconscious Marines lying around me. The crowd of hundreds immediately disappeared in front of me and my body 100 150. The ball bearing is in it now,” Vargas-Andrews told the committee through tears.
Moments before the explosion, he and his fellow Marines were providing protection from a tower near the gate where the explosion occurred. Armed with intelligence about a possible suicide bomber, Vargas-Andrews and his men spotted a man matching the description of the suicide bomber. The Marines observed the individual engaging in suspicious behavior and sent an immediate alert to leaders seeking permission to engage the suspected bomber.
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“On the communication network we passed that there was a potential threat and that an IED attack was imminent, this was as serious as it could be. I request engagement authorization while my team leader M110 semi-automatic sniper The systems were ready to respond, leadership didn’t have the engagement authority for us, don’t engage,” Vargas-Andrews said.
The Marines asked their battalion commander to come to the tower as psychological operations confirmed that the man met the description of the suspected bomber. He presented his evidence, assuring the commander to “open easy fire” on the suspect and asked for authority to shoot, but he was never granted.
Vargas-Andrews said, “Plain and simple, we were ignored. Our expertise was disregarded, no one was held accountable for our safety.”
The team hastily left their position on a mission to find allies on the ground among the crowd, when they were hit by a suicide bombing that killed 13 American service members.
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Vargas-Andrews, who was appearing before the committee in an individual capacity and not as a representative of the US Marine Corps or the Department of Defense, was one of several individuals testifying about the chaotic final days of the US war in Afghanistan. Are.
“No one wanted my reports after the explosion. Even NCIS and the FBI failed to interview me.”
The hearing on the subject is the first since Republicans took control of Congress earlier this year, Rep. Corey Mills, R-Fla., told Fox News Digital Tuesday that the proceedings are intended to provide “transparency and accountability” to the American people. Have to do deserve.”
“I think these 13 Gold Star families deserve to know who was responsible for the loss of life. I think the Americans who are left behind to perish without the responsibilities of our own US government should be protected And transparency is needed to provide security.” Mills said. “We need to know where the decisions were being made, whether it was the President ignoring military strategy. Was it a failed strategy by both the DoD and the State Department, was it not being handled properly by ground commanders … We get the information we need to be able to take further steps and take lessons learned.”
Vargas-Andrews said she personally observed some of those failures, including slow processing speeds by State Department personnel.
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“Troops on the ground had to work tirelessly day and night to control the crowds. The department of state staff at HKIA (Hamid Karzai International Airport) stopped processing Afghans completely every evening and morning, thereby leaving the ground forces together.” Nightmare,” he said. “The state was not ready to join the HKIA.”
Despite the devastating events, the Marine testified that he was not asked to submit his report after the explosion and emphasized the need for accountability in its aftermath.
Vargas-Andrews said, “After the explosion nobody wanted my report. Even NCIS and the FBI failed to interview me.”
“Our military members and our veterans deserve the best from us because that’s what we give to America,” he said. “In my opinion the withdrawal was a disaster and an inexcusable lack of accountability and negligence. The 11 Marines, one sailor and one soldier who died that day have not been answered.”
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