A new book details how the Biden administration's dependence on the Taliban for security during its chaotic 2021 Afghanistan withdrawal led to two missed opportunities to potentially stop the deadly Kabul airport bombing that claimed 13 American lives.
The book, titled Kabul, claims U.S. officials knew of a looming threat in the days before an ISIS-K suicide bomber killed 170 civilians and 13 U.S. service members at the Abbey Gate leading to the airport, where thousands of Afghans were trying to enter to evacuate the country.
One opportunity to prevent the attack, according to the book, was missed when the Taliban, which the United States leaned on heavily for security cooperation during the withdrawal, refused to raid a hotel where ISIS-K was known to be operating. The second was missed when the United States decided not to carry out a drone strike because of a "negative response" from Taliban officials.
The book is co-authored by Jerry Dunleavy, an investigator for the GOP committee probing the withdrawal, and James Hasson, a U.S. Army veteran who served in Afghanistan.
"Our findings—tucked away in the Pentagon’s own documents and in the own words of military officers personally involved in the Afghanistan evacuation—provide more damning evidence about the dangerous stupidity of relying upon terrorists like the Taliban to provide security at Kabul airport," Dunleavy said.
Transcripts from communication channels detailed in the book show military officials knew about a coming attack, the Daily Mail reported:
An officer, whose name is redacted, describes a meeting of ambassadors and military attachés in Kabul.
'I shared intelligence about the pending attack, so everyone was aware, and knew it was happening,' said the officer. 'The intelligence community didn't know the gate, but assessed it would be Abbey Gate due to the number of people there.'
The gate was initially due to close around then but the British government and others lobbied to keep it open as they sought to rescue their last remaining citizens.
The threat of an attack was so high, report Dunleavy and Hassan, that Marines there were ordered on to one knee all night to reduce their exposure to an explosion. A day later medical units were told to be on alert for a mass casualty event.
Some of the parents of the 13 military service members killed at the airport testified earlier this month, with one father calling on Biden to be a "grown-ass man" and "admit to your mistakes."
Republicans are pushing legislation to force the State Department to disclose classified information that could show the Biden administration knew in advance the withdrawal would be chaotic.
House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Michael McCaul (R., Texas) said in May after reviewing a classified cable from State Department officials at the time of the withdrawal that the Biden administration did not heed warnings from U.S. officials on the ground.
The report also comes as the Biden administration continues to send funds to Afghanistan. The Washington Free Beacon reported that the Biden administration has sent more than $2.35 billion to the country since the Taliban took over.
The payments persist despite warnings from lawmakers and officials that the funds could enter the hands of the terrorist regime.