The ISIS suicide bomber who killed 13 U.S. service members and many Afghans outside the Kabul airport on August 26 had just been released from imprisonment at Bagram Air Base, it was revealed on Wednesday.
CNN issued a report indicating that Abdul Rehman Al-Loghri, identified as the bomber, had been released “just days earlier” when Afghanistan fell into the control of the Taliban immediately following the chaotic withdrawal of U.S. military forces by President Joe Biden.
The bomber had been incarcerated at the Parwan prison at Bagram Air Base as part of 5,000 prisoners previously captured by American forces. The prisoners included hundreds of ISIS members along with Al-Qaeda and Taliban jihadis.
In July, the U.S. left the Bagram base during the night, turning off the electricity and not notifying the newly installed Afghan commander that American forces were going. The Taliban subsequently entered the base without any Afghan resistance and immediately emptied the Parwan prison.
Al-Loghri walked away with the other prisoners and later turned up as the bomber who murdered the American service members at the airport. ISIS-K immediately took credit for the attack and named Al-Loghri as the bomber.
Joint Chief Chairman Gen. Mark Milley said that conditions in Afghanistan “could be set” for a re-establishment of Al-Qaeda or ISIS-K.
The conclusion is inescapable that the murders outside the Kabul airport were preventable and resulted from the lack of planning involved in the haphazard withdrawal of forces. Under standard withdrawal procedures, Bagram could have served as a controlled destination for American civilians who wanted to evacuate.
Even as recently as last week, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin indicated that the Pentagon was taken aback by the abrupt collapse of the Afghan military following troop withdrawal. In his statement at a Congressional hearing last week, he defended the decision to abandon Bagram Air Base in the dark of night.
He claimed that retaining control of Bagram would have “required butting as many as five thousand” troops in harm’s way. He added that it would have “added little to the mission,” and staying at the base would have meant “staying at war,” which Austin said the president would not do.