In late August, an ISIS-K suicide bomber killed 13 U.S. troops at the Kabul airport as President Joe Biden’s disastrous Afghanistan pullout was underway.
It turns out, according to a new CNN report, that the bomber, whose attack also killed at least 170 Afghans, according to the Washington Post, had been released from a prison near Kabul just days earlier.
The killer had been behind bars at the Parwan prison, which had been run by Afghan authorities since 2013 and was located at the U.S.-controlled Bagram Air Base. When the U.S. quickly abandoned the base in July, chaos ensued and the prisoners were freed by the Taliban, with which the Biden Administration had already begun making deals to get U.S. personnel out of the south Asian country.
The Parwan prison at Bagram, along with the Pul-e-Charkhi prison near Kabul, housed several hundred members of ISIS-K, as well as thousands of other prisoners when the Taliban took control of both facilities hours before taking over the capital with barely a shot fired in mid-August, a regional counter-terrorism source told CNN at the time. The Taliban emptied out both prisons, releasing their own members who had been imprisoned but also members of ISIS-K, which is the terror group’s affiliate in Afghanistan.
Eleven days later, on August 26, it was one of those prisoners who carried out the suicide bombing at Abbey Gate, killing the 13 US service members, including 11 Marines, one soldier and one sailor. They would be the last US troops killed in Afghanistan as part of America’s longest war.
Multiple U.S. officials confirmed the identity of the bomber to CNN, echoing ISIS-K’s claims that one of their own, Abdul Rehman Al-Loghri, carried out the attack.
The CNN report backs up California Republican Rep. Ken Calvert’s claims last week that national security officials had told him the attacker was a recently released Parwan prisoner.
Critics of Biden’s Afghanistan withdrawal — both on the left and the right — blamed the admiration’s insistence on a quick pullout as well as the decision to abandon Bagram for much of the disaster that was seen worldwide.
More from CNN:
The Biden administration faced widespread criticism for its withdrawal from Bagram, not only because of the decision to abandon a sprawling military complex that was the heart of the US military operations in Afghanistan for nearly 20 years, but also for the way in which it was done.
Some Afghan officials said the US left the base in the middle of the night with little warning. The Pentagon insisted there had been communication and coordination about the handover of the base about 48 hours before the US left, but that the exact time of the final departure from Bagram was never given to the Afghan government.
Leaving the prison at Bagram in the hands of the Taliban should have been a known problem, CNN’s reporting indicated.
The vast majority of the 5,000 prisoners at Bagram’s Parwan prison were terrorists. Only a few hundred were criminals, according to an Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman’s statement to CNN. Those terrorists included members of al Qaeda, the Taliban, and ISIS.