Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
The suicide bombing at the Kabul airport that killed 13 military personnel and as many as 200 Afghans became one of the defining moments of the disgraceful days of the final retreat.
The Biden administration and its allies had claimed that the withdrawal meant that no more Americans would die in Afghanistan and yet more military personnel died in one day of the withdrawal than in the final two years of the war. And one year later, unanswered questions remain about one of the deadliest attacks in that bloody war. Who was the suicide bomber? How was he able to get close enough to pull off his attacks and why wasn’t he stopped?
Even though the terrorist has been widely named as Abdul Rahman al Logari, one year later the Biden administration has yet to officially release his name. When the Washington Examiner‘s Jerry Dunleavy inquired of the State Department, he was directed to the Pentagon which sent him to the FBI. Al Logari’s identity was made public by ISIS-K after the attack. The only ones keeping the name secret are Biden administration officials and their departmental allies.
The most obvious reason was that during the Trump administration, the CIA had warned India that Al-Logari was planning to carry out a suicide attack in New Delhi. Indian authorities caught him and turned him over to the CIA which kept him in a prison near Bagram Air Base. During Biden’s disastrous withdrawal, Bagram was abandoned and the Taliban freed the prisoners.
Al-Logari among them. The only reason the Kabul airport suicide bombing happened was because Biden allowed Bagram to fall into Taliban hands before all of our people were out of the country. The fall of Bagram forced the evacuation to flow through the Kabul airport which trapped most Americans behind enemy lines and also freed the suicide bomber who struck the airport where our military forces were cut off and surrounded by the enemy on all sides.
But that may not be the full story.
While 13 American military personnel were killed in the bombing, many were wounded. One of those was Tristan Hirsch who suffered a traumatic brain injury and lost some of his friends.
In an interview with the Chico-Enterprise Record, Hirsch described the horrors he had witnessed in those final days. And he revealed that they knew about the suicide bomber.
“We knew about him two days prior to the attack,” he said. “We knew what he looked like. The CIA let us know; he looked exactly as they’d described him.”
That would stand to reason since the CIA had the original intelligence that caught him in 2017, and had held him at Bagram. The Agency would have had images and biometrics of Al-Logari.
According to the former Marine, the bomber came and went.
“A friend of mine who was a sniper racked back his rifle and was ready to kill the guy,” Hirsch said. “We asked for permission and the reply was, ‘let me get a military judge to see if it’s legal.’”
The rules of engagement imposed by the Obama administration had crippled the ability of American military personnel to preemptively take out Islamic terrorists.
“We’re fighting on with our hands tied behind our back,” a staff sergeant had complained.
Obama’s rules of engagements led to a massive loss of American lives. The Obama surge significantly increased troop numbers, raising them to 100,000, but prevented them from actually fighting the enemy. These were the years during which the war in Afghanistan was lost. Everything else since then was just a holding action for a war that we had already lost.
Under Obama’s rules of engagement, troops were forbidden to take out a terrorist unless he was visibly in the act of attacking Americans. Unless a terrorist was actively setting off a bomb, he couldn’t be shot. American deaths skyrocketed while the Taliban insurgency really took off.
The Trump administration had rolled back some of those rules of engagement. Democrats and the media complained about the increase in civilian casualties. It’s not clear what the rules of engagement were under Biden, but according to Hirsch, the battalion commander was worried. Even if he complied with the rules of engagement, he might still face political vendettas from the Biden administration, the Left and even from some Republicans for killing an “innocent” man.
The best evidence of this is that a drone strike on a suspected suicide bomber in the aftermath of the Kabul suicide bombing led to an outcry from some Republicans because he allegedly turned out to be an aid worker and not a terrorist. The demands that the military punish those personnel behind the drone strike from both the Left and some on the Right shows exactly why the Kabul suicide bombing happened when it could have been preemptively prevented.
Politics came before saving the lives of Americans.
“What the strike in Kabul really sends home is the reality that for all of our technical capacity, we’re really good at reaching out and killing people and still really bad at knowing if the people we’re killing are the people we’re after,” Rep. Peter Meijer, an anti-Trump Republican who recently lost reelection, sneered.
The men on duty at Kabul Airport were not invested with whatever brand of omnipotence Biden, Democrats, Rep. Meijer and assorted backseat drivers expected. They had a choice between preemptively taking action against a man who had been identified to them as an enemy, or waiting until he did something that made it all too obvious that he was here to kill them.
They waited and 13 American military personnel died.
The terrorist attack at Kabul Airport was a microcosm of the war in which the lives of the men on the ground mattered less than the effete sensibilities of Washington D.C. elites, the partisan politics of party members looking to score cheap points by hanging them out to dry, and the obsession with, even at the very end, winning the hearts and minds of the Afghans.
And it’s only going to get worse.
Lloyd Austin, Biden’s woke Secretary of Defense, has announced a new program to further tie the hands of American military personnel. The Civilian Protection Center of Excellence will cost “tens of millions of dollars” a year with 150 staffers and will involve extra “screenings” before drone strikes are launched that will once again put terrorist lives ahead of Americans.
A few hours before 9/11, Bill Clinton was giving a speech in Australia where he revealed that he could have taken out Osama bin Laden. “I nearly got him. And I could have killed him, but I would have had to destroy a little town called Kandahar in Afghanistan and kill 300 innocent women and children, and then I would have been no better than him. And so I didn’t do it.”
The actual number was 200. And Clinton’s people were worried about damaging a mosque.
Bill Clinton missed numerous opportunities to kill Osama bin Laden. Multiple screenings, meanderings and concerns about collateral damage and political fallout scuttled each one.
Nearly 3,000 people died in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C. because of it. Thousands more have died of diseases and health problems linked to the Islamic attacks.
A generation after Bill Clinton’s decision to put the lives of 200 Muslims in Afghanistan ahead of 5,000 lives in this country, Joe Biden did the same thing all over again. With similar results.
The campaign against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan ended as it began, with a Democrat in the White House who put enemy lives ahead of those of Americans. And then launched a coverup.
Long before the Mar-a-Lago raid, Sandy Berger, Clinton’s national security adviser, stole classified documents from the National Archives involving the failure to kill Bin Laden, stuffed them into his socks and pants, buried them in a construction trailer, and then cut them up and destroyed them.
He got off with a fine.
The Biden coverup of the Kabul airport suicide bombing had been a quieter affair. A matter of refusing to answer questions, playing dumb and changing the subject.
But as the men who were there continue to speak out, it may not remain quiet for long.