High Home lawmakers need the Pentagon to provide extra particulars on the lead-up to a suicide bombing outdoors Afghanistan’s Kabul airport in 2021 that killed 13 U.S. troops, following testimony from a Marine who claimed to have recognized the bomber earlier than the assault.
Sgt. Tyler Vargas-Andrews, a Marine Corps sniper who testified to the Home International Affairs Committee in March, stated he could not get approval from his chain of command to shoot the terrorist, who was killed in what turned generally known as the Abbey Gate bombing in the course of the navy’s chaotic withdrawal from the nation.
“Plain and easy, we have been ignored,” Vargas-Andrews, whose leg and arm have been amputated after the assault, stated on the listening to.
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In a letter launched Thursday afternoon, Home Armed Providers Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Ala., and International Affairs Chairman Mike McCaul, R-Texas, requested for a slew of paperwork associated to the bombing.
“Battlefield choices are sometimes made in a cloud, however in honor of the lives misplaced and people nonetheless residing following that horrible day, it’s incumbent we be taught whether or not occasions have been avoidable and if unsure procedures, damaged traces of communication, or worse, contributed to the dearth of engagement,” Rogers and McCaul wrote within the letter to Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley.
A Pentagon spokesperson declined to remark to Army.com in regards to the letter, saying in an e-mail that “as with all congressional correspondence, we’ll reply on to the authors of the letter.”
McCaul has been main an investigation into the withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021 that noticed the U.S. navy rush to evacuate as many susceptible Afghans as doable after the U.S.-backed authorities in Kabul fell to the Taliban.
In March, McCaul’s committee held an emotional public listening to kicking off the investigation during which service members and veterans who helped with the evacuation recounted their experiences.
Citing the testimony, Rogers and McCaul requested the Pentagon present all paperwork and communications in regards to the Abbey Gate bombing by June 2, together with any intelligence in regards to the id of the attacker; the foundations of engagement in impact on the time of the bombing; any video or images from the day of the assault; and any messages or chats about threats to the Kabul airport.
The pair additionally requested for an in depth description of the response to Vargas-Andrews’ request for engagement authority.
“Testimony in the course of the listening to raises severe questions concerning the occasions main as much as the assault, which have to be answered,” the lawmakers wrote.
The navy’s investigation into the Abbey Gate bombing concluded it was not preventable, regardless of indications of threats to the airport beforehand. Vargas-Andrews testified on the listening to that he has by no means been interviewed as a part of any Pentagon investigation into the withdrawal.
Rogers and McCaul additionally requested for paperwork associated to the Pentagon’s after-action assessment of the withdrawal. The Biden administration allowed lawmakers to see the categorised assessment, however publicly has launched solely a White Home abstract that largely pins blame for the chaos of the withdrawal on the Trump administration. The lawmakers particularly requested the Pentagon to offer the footnotes from the after-action assessment, which they stated have been redacted within the model given to Congress, in addition to transcripts of interviews performed for the assessment.
The letter to the Pentagon comes after McCaul’s standoff with the State Division over his Afghanistan withdrawal investigation eases, not less than for now.
In March, McCaul issued a subpoena demanding the State Division hand over a doc generally known as a dissent cable that was written by diplomats and reportedly warned Kabul would quickly fall to the Taliban. McCaul was planning a vote subsequent week to carry Secretary of State Antony Blinken in contempt of Congress because the division withheld the doc over said issues that offering the cable would violate the confidentiality of the diplomats who despatched it.
However on Wednesday, the division provided to let McCaul and Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., the rating member of the International Affairs Committee, view the cable beneath supervision on the State Division with private details about the senders redacted. McCaul accepted the supply Thursday and stated he would postpone subsequent week’s contempt vote. However he added that he nonetheless desires different committee members to have the ability to see the cable and reserves the fitting to implement the subpoena.
— Rebecca Kheel will be reached at email@example.com. Observe her on Twitter @reporterkheel.
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