There are a lot of mistakes and missteps the Biden administration has taken that have led to massive damage being done to our beloved country, but one of the top is without a doubt the disastrous troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in August of 2021, which left 13 American service members dead and the country we fought in for twenty years in the hands of the very terrorists we sought to stamp out of existence. Essentially, all of the blood spilled to eradicate the Taliban and other related terror organizations in the nation was all for nothing thanks to this horrifically timed move.
While we experienced this tragedy from afar, Tyler Vargas-Andrews, a Marine sergeant who served during the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, recounted witnessing the suicide bomber kill 13 U.S. troops, breaking down into tears as he did so.
According to The Daily Wire, “Vargas-Andrews appeared in front of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs to speak about his experience in Afghanistan. A Marine sniper at the time, Vargas-Andrews and his team were ordered from Saudi Arabia to Kabul, Afghanistan, in August 2021 to oversee the final weeks of the U.S. withdrawal.”
“After arriving at Hamid Karzai International Airport in mid-August, Vargas-Andrews and his sniper team were assigned to the airport’s Abbey Gate, where the Marines processed thousands of Afghans fleeing Afghanistan, turned away thousands of others, and monitored Taliban and other terrorist activity outside the gate,” the report continued.
“Tens of thousands of people descended upon Abbey Gate. We were looking for anyone with a blue passport first and foremost. People were suffering from extreme malnutrition, dehydration, heat casualties, and infants were dying. Afghans brutalized and tortured by the Taliban flocked to us pleading for help,” Vargas-Andrews went on to say in his prepared testimony. “Some Afghans turned away from HKIA tried to kill themselves on the razor wire we used as a deterrent. They thought this was merciful compared to the Taliban torture they faced. Countless Afghans were murdered by the Taliban 155 yards in front of our position day and night.”
The State Department’s “unwillingness” to provide help with operations taking place at the airport contributed to the overall chaos that unfolded, Vargas-Andrews stated during his testimony.
“On August 22, either ISIS or Taliban militants conducted a ‘test run’ for a terror attack with an improvised explosive device (IED). On August 26, Vargas-Andrews’ team received a description of the suspected terrorist bomber and, later that day, identified a man near the Abbey gate who fit the description and ‘consistently and nervously’ kept looking at the Marines stationed near the gate,” the Daily Wire revealed.
“Vargas-Andrews said his team asked twice for permission to take out the suspected terrorist. The first time, he was denied. The second time, the battalion commander, who came to Abbey Gate to see the suspect himself, replied, ‘I don’t know’ if they had the authority to take out the suspect,” the report added.
“Myself and my team leader asked very harshly, ‘Well, who does? Because this is your responsibility, sir,’” Vargas-Andrews stated during his appearance before Congress. The commander responded that he would find out.
“We received no update and never got our answer. Eventually the individual disappeared,” Vargas-Andrews commented. “To this day, we believe he was the suicide bomber.”
Just a few hours later, a bomb blast went off in the crowds outside of Abbey Gate. The explosion killed an estimated 170 Afghan civilians, along with 13 U.S. military members. Vargas-Andrews suffered serious injuries during the blast, losing his right arm, left leg, left kidney, and significant portions of his intestines and colon. He has had to endure dozens of surgeries in the time since the incident.
Vargas-Andrews had to take a minute several times during his testimony to fight back tears as he recounted the events of August 26.
“Our military members and veterans deserve our best because that is what we give to America,” he went on to say. “The withdrawal was a catastrophe in my opinion and there was an inexcusable lack of accountability and negligence. The eleven Marines, one Sailor, and one Soldier that were murdered that day have not been answered for.”
Emotional testimony from Sgt. Vargas-Andrews on suicide bombing outside of Kabal airport: "I opened my eyes to marines dead or unconscious lying around me…The withdrawal was a catastrophe in my opinion. There was an inexcusable lack of accountability. and negligence." pic.twitter.com/9DLr9LGP8u
— CSPAN (@cspan) March 8, 2023
"*" indicates required fields