Biden Admin ‘Finally’ Acknowledges Abbey Gate Bomber Was Freed From Afghan Prison At Abandoned Air Base

(Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images)

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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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The Biden administration acknowledged for the first time that the Abbey Gate suicide bomber who killed 13 U.S. service members was an Islamic State (IS) terrorist released from Bagram after the U.S. military chose to abandon the air base.

CENTCOM’s secondary report on the Aug. 26, 2021, Abbey Gate attack, revealed Monday, formally identified the bomber as Abdul Rahman Al-Logari, an IS operative whom the Taliban freed from the Parwan detention facility along with thousands of other terrorists when releasing their own fighters. The White House had chosen to withdraw all troops from Bagram, once the largest U.S. military base in Afghanistan, despite later criticism it would have been easier to protect as the military carried out an evacuation that quickly descended into chaos.

“There is a direct correlation to abandoning Bagram and the Abbey Gate attack. [Islamic State in the Khorasan Province] was given a boost when the Taliban opened the gates,” Bill Roggio, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. (RELATED: Afghanistan Evac Plans Were Drawn Up on the Fly as Chaos Consumed Kabul Airport, New Testimony Reveals)

“Additionally, it would have been more secure to evacuate via Bagram” instead of Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA) in Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, he added.

A Pentagon investigation previously identified the attacker as an IS member but did not identify him by name, The New York Times reported. IS identified the bomber as Al-Logari.

Investigators also found that the Taliban’s actions had no relevance for the attack, according to the NYT. But, American officials said Al-Logari was among thousands of IS fighters the Taliban freed from two high-security detention facilities as they overtook Kabul on Aug. 15, 2021.

If the Biden administration evacuated out of Bagram at the end of the Afghanistan war, the devastating terrorist attack that killed 13 U.S. servicemembers, wounded dozens more and inflicted hundreds of civilian casualties would not have occurred, Command Sgt. Maj. Jacob Smith, who formerly managed U.S. military installations in Afghanistan, told a House Foreign Affairs Committee panel in July. Smith testified he had argued to the State Department team that Bagram’s defenses made it a better choice for ferrying thousands of U.S. Embassy personnel and Afghan allies to safety as the Taliban closed in on Kabul.

“The events that happened at Abbey Gate — that would not have occurred in Bagram,” Smith said.

“I hope this updated report provides some level of clarity to the families of those who were killed, those who were injured in the attack, and all veterans, especially those who served in Afghanistan,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Mike McCaul said in a statement upon the report’s release. He pointed out the report “finally reveals” the identity of the suicide bomber.

An Afghan policeman stands guard inside the Bagram US air base after all US and NATO troops left, some 70 Kms north of Kabul on July 5, 2021.

An Afghan policeman stands guard inside the Bagram US air base after all US and NATO troops left, some 70 Kms north of Kabul on July 5, 2021. (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images)

The White House did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment. Conducting a non-combat evacuation operation out of Bagram would have required troop reinforcements after the White House had already ordered the withdrawal of conventional units.

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