US Military In Review After Deadly Kabul Bombing

 March 17, 2024

The shadows of the Abbey Gate bombing still linger long after the event. The U.S. military, reevaluating the tragic Abbey Gate bombing during the Afghanistan withdrawal in 2021, which took the lives of 13 U.S. service members and numerous Afghan civilians, has completed an additional review based on new public testimonies.

According to CNN, this new scrutiny was set in motion by Gen. Erik Kurilla, the commander of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), in June of the previous year. It was a proactive step to ensure no stone was left unturned, demonstrating a commitment to truth and accountability. The additional review was announced officially by CENTCOM in September, following an emotional Congressional roundtable in late August that echoed the grief and unresolved questions of many.

Currently, families of the 13 service members tragically lost have been briefed about the findings from this latest inquiry conducted by the U.S. Army Central. These briefings are a solemn reminder of the cost of service and the ongoing commitment to those who have sacrificed everything.

Bridging gaps in understanding with newfound insights

At the heart of this new review was the testimony of Marine Sgt. Tyler Vargas-Andrews before Congress in March. His vivid recounting of the events leading up to the bombing, including his identification of the suicide bomber and the frustrating lack of action following his warnings, has been pivotal.

Following Vargas-Andrews' testimony, “Over the communication network, we passed that there was a potential threat and an IED attack imminent. This was as serious as it could get,” and regarding permission to engage, "our battalion commander said, and I quote, ‘I don’t know,’ end quote.”

In response, more than 50 new interviews were conducted over five months, involving 12 U.S. troops not previously interviewed in the original CENTCOM investigation. These interactions aimed to piece together differing accounts and perspectives, highlighting the complex nature of real-time decision-making in crises.

The initial inquiry into this devastating event concluded that the bombing could not have been prevented and that leaders on the ground had followed all proper protocols when faced with imminent threats. Yet, the reassessment aimed to verify these findings against the weight of new evidence and testimony.

An enduring commitment to those we've lost

Through it all, CENTCOM has maintained its dedication to the families of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, reiterating its commitment through a statement that underlies the purpose of this rigorous inquiry.

CENTCOM emphasized, “Our focus continues to be on fulfilling our solemn obligations to the Abbey Gate Gold Star Families.”

In a world where certainty is often elusive, such a detailed reexamination underscores the military's resolve to honor its fallen by seeking out the full truth of what occurred on that fateful day. Through this process, it aims to bring some measure of solace to grieving families and ensure that lessons are learned to protect lives in future operations.


The U.S. military's additional review of the Abbey Gate bombing carries critical implications for understanding the tragic event during the 2021 withdrawal from Afghanistan. Initiated by Gen. Erik Kurilla and catalyzed by Sgt. Tyler Vargas-Andrews' poignant testimony, this effort signifies a relentless pursuit of clarity and accountability.

By re-evaluating new information and conducting over 50 new interviews, this investigation seeks to either confirm or revise previous conclusions about the preventability of the bombing and the appropriateness of the response by leadership. It stands as a solemn testament to the continued commitment to the Abbey Gate Gold Star Families and the broader military community.

This dedication to uncovering the truth honors the memory of the 13 U.S. service members and numerous Afghan civilians lost, offering a path towards understanding and, ultimately, closure for those left in the wake of tragedy.

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