Attacks at the Kabul airport killed 12 U.S. Marines and a Navy medic on Thursday. Afghan civilians were also killed and there were injuries among U.S. personnel as the chaotic situation turned violent and deadly.
The 13 deaths are the first U.S. military fatalities in Afghanistan since February 2020.
The bombings raise more concerns and more questions for President Joe Biden, the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies about America’s retreat from the Afghanistan War.
Biden continues to face legitimate criticisms about his handling of the U.S. exit.
That includes the decisions to shutdown intelligence operations and close U.S. air bases — especially the sprawling Bagram Air Base, which could have offered more security than the local airport.
The closure of those bases came before civilian evacuations and led to the stoppage in U.S. support for the Afghan military.
Those forces gave up to the Taliban after the American air and intelligence support ended and the country and government collapsed.
The U.S. military and administration also face questions about what will happen to Americans and Afghan allies who do not get out by the Taliban’s Aug. 31 deadline. Biden has agreed to that Taliban-imposed deadline to leave Afghanistan
We worry about what happens to women and girls, religious and ethnic minorities and others after the spotlight fades from America’s historic retreat from Afghanistan. We wonder if anyone in power will held to account for the miscalculations and whether the exit debacle results in new war drums and pushes for military and intelligence spending.
The U.S. war was a 20-year bipartisan endeavor that has ended with the withdrawal by the $700 billion U.S. military, victory for vagabond and Islamist Taliban and now a deadly terror attack.
In a huge ironic twist, the U.S. government (including the CIA and Pentagon) has coordinated its exit with the Taliban and continues to rely on the group for security and logistics even after the 13 deaths Thursday.
Biden’s exit from Afghanistan has seen misstatements, predictions that turned out to be completely wrong, chaos and now a deadly terror attack.
It’s been a very tough day in a series of tough days for Biden, his administration and the Pentagon.
It’s an even tougher and tragic day for the families and friends who lost loved ones in Kabul.