A heart-wrenching turn of events has left 11 Marines and one Navy medic dead, per reporting by the AP on Thursday. Warning that "the toll could grow." One explosion occurred at the Abbey Gate, the main gate at the Hamid Karzai International Airport. A second explosion occurred "at or near the Baron Hotel." The Pentagon called the explosions a "complex attack."
Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKAI)/USAToday
This morning's briefing was canceled. However, Press Secretary John Kirby issued this brief statement today:
Pentagon Press Secretary, John Kirby/Press Release/Aug. 26, 2021
Centcom Chief McKenzie briefed reporters earlier today. The Pentagon does not yet know the number of deaths or casualties.
McKenzie stated that there is a plan to retaliate against Daesh:
The second attack occurred outside the Baron Hotel near the Kabul airport, where 169 Americans were rescued last week by helicopters. According to reporting by the AP, the Baron Hotel "was being used as a centre for processing Afghan people that are hoping to be evacuated from the country to flee the Taliban and was mainly used by British officials. The 160-room hotel is also near to Camp Sullivan, which is a self-contained facility for the local guard force that provides protection to all official US facilities in the capital city."
President Biden has set a deadline of Aug. 31 for the evacuation of personnel, SIV's and civilians. Even Democratic lawmakers are begging Biden to ignore Aug. 31 as the final deadline, saying the date is arbitrary.
“That is not achievable between now and Aug. 31. That deadline has to be extended to get the job done,” said Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.), a former Army Ranger who served in Afghanistan. “There shouldn’t be a date on the calendar that dictates when the mission ends. The mission should end when our people are out.”
UncoverDC wrote about the series of decisions that may have led to the somewhat predictable disaster. The strategic Bagram airfield was evacuated and abandoned in the middle of the night, and heavy equipment and weapons have been deserted and seized by the Taliban.
Americans are frantically attempting to escape the chaos in Kabul. Reporting from multiple outlets indicates a group of 24 students and 16 parents from El Cajon, CA, who are now stranded in Afghanistan. The group had traveled there to visit family. USA Today reported, “Many of them were stranded because they couldn’t get to the airport,” Cajon Valley Union School District Director of Family And Community Engagement Mike Serban said.
There are an estimated 1,500 Americans left in Afghanistan and some sources say that American passports are being seized at checkpoints by the Taliban. Politico also reported, "U.S. officials in Kabul gave the Taliban a list of names of American citizens, green card holders and Afghan allies to grant entry into the militant-controlled outer perimeter of the city’s airport, a choice that's prompted outrage behind the scenes from lawmakers and military officials."
Last week, in a Good Morning America interview with George Stephanopoulos, Biden "knocked on wood" while stating "no one's being killed right now." Biden also said he did not expect that the Taliban would seize the country this quickly. His interview can be found below:
A Western Journal OpEd exclusive by General Michael Flynn expresses the sentiments of a man who knows the region and its people well. He served for a number of years in Afghanistan and Iraq. In his OpEd, Flynn states his disappointment in the "leaders" now in office. He also beseeches Americans to "get on their feet and do something" before it is too late and we lose our country to Communism.
An excerpt from his OpEd is below:
"American “leaders” have reneged on American honor and dignity. Foreign policy is being dictated by our enemies. It’s unstated so far, but in my judgment, we’ve surrendered."
"This is a complete and total disaster, and our enemies will shame us forever. The entire chain of command should immediately resign in disgrace. (And the president should step down: Clearly, he is incapable of making clearheaded decisions and placing the safety and security of American citizens as his highest priority—that is what a president is supposed to do!)"
"Those left behind will be enslaved, raped, pillaged, converted or brutally killed."
UncoverDC contacted Gen. Flynn today. His statement was brief but profoundly saddening:
"Today is the largest loss of life in AFG in ten years."