Abbey Gate review says Afghanistan airport bombing was not preventable

The new report claimed service members saw a different “bald man in black,” after comparing images of the man spotted by service members and bomber Abdul Rahman al-Logari.
Kabul, Afghanistan

A review of the Abbey Gate bombing at the Kabul airport during the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan, released Monday, found that the bombing was not preventable, despite claims from service members.

The attack at the Afghanistan airport had killed U.S. 13 service members, including 11 Marines, and 170 Afghans in August of 2021. 

Multiple U.S. service members had claimed to have spotted the bomber, confirmed as Islamic State militant Abdul Rahman al-Logari, hours before the attack. The men reportedly alerted their superiors but could not get clearance to take him out, according to the Associated Press.

The report from United States Central Command (CENTCOM) claimed the service members saw a different "bald man in black," after comparing images of the man spotted by service members and al-Logari.

“For the past two years, some service members have claimed that they had the bomber in their sights and they could have prevented the attack. We now know that is not correct,” a CENTCOM team member told the AP.

The report also noted that the bald man service members originally believed to be the bomber had appeared at the airport at 7 a.m. on the day of the bombing. But al-Logari did not arrive until “very shortly” before the attack took place, hours later.

Some family members of the service members were not convinced that they were mistaken about the “bald man in black," but said the new report provided more information about the deaths of their loved ones.

Mark Schmitz, the father of Marine Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz, said he was told exactly where his son was at the time of the bombing, and that his son had passed out immediately, so he did not feel the extent of the shrapnel that was embedded in his torso.

“That to me was, first and foremost, the best news I could have gotten,” Schmitz said. “That gave me a little bit of closure that my son didn’t suffer, which made me feel really good.”

Critics, such as Oklahoma GOP Sen. Jim Inhofe, have slammed President Joe Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, going so far as to call "disastrous." They have also complained about a lack of accountability in the evacuation.