More Witness Interviews in Kabul Bombing Ordered

US general says he wants new accounts of airport attack taken seriously
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 15, 2023 5:20 PM CDT
More Witness Interviews in Kabul Bombing Ordered
Smoke rises from a deadly explosion outside the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Aug. 26, 2021.   (AP Photo/Wali Sabawoon, File)

For the first time, almost 20 eyewitnesses to the bombing at the Kabul airport as US forces were leaving Afghanistan will be able to tell their stories to Pentagon investigators. Gen. Michael Kurilla ordered the interviews of US personnel who were wounded in the August 2021 attack and whose public statements are at odds with the Pentagon's finding that the bombing could not have been prevented. A statement said Kurilla, who heads US Central Command, wants to make sure that "relevant voices are fully heard and that we take those accounts and examine them seriously," the Washington Post reports.

One conflicting account was provided in congressional testimony in March by Marine Sgt. Tyler Vargas-Andrews, who said he was not interviewed for the original investigation. He said Marines sought permission to shoot a person they thought was the suicide bomber who then killed 13 US troops at the airport's Abbey Gate. Permission was not granted, per CNN. "Plain and simple, we were ignored. Our expertise was disregarded," Vargas-Andrews said. "No one was held accountable for our safety." The decision to conduct more interviews does not mean the investigation is being reopened, officials said. (More Afghanistan war stories.)

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