Heartbreaking moment families of US service members killed in Kabul suicide bombing shake


Families of the service men and women killed in Kabul two years ago gave the most damning verdict yet of President Joe Biden‘s response to the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.

During a congressional hearing into what went wrong, they were asked whether the Biden administration had taken ownership of the botched exit.

They shook their heads in unison.

‘Neither do the American people,’ said Rep. Eli Crane, a former Navy S.E.A.L, who asked the question.

It is almost two years since a suicide bomber detonated his deadly payload amid the chaos of Kabul’s international airport.

President Joe Biden ordered U.S. troops to leave Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The result was that the Taliban swept through the country and seized Kabul

President Joe Biden ordered U.S. troops to leave Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The result was that the Taliban swept through the country and seized Kabul

He killed 13 Americans and at least 170 Afghans.

It brought a bloody conclusion to Biden’s decision to bring home the troops remaining in the country after 20 years of conflict. 

It followed weeks of turmoil as Taliban gunmen advanced on the capital Kabul while Afghanistan’s armed forces, built with billions of dollars in foreign aid, melted away.

The result was that thousands of desperate Afghans besieged Hamid Karzai International Airport as they sought safe passage from the country’s extremist overlords.

It marked Biden’s first major test as president and his administration is accused of failing to properly plan the withdrawal or predict a Taliban takeover, despite the fact the insurgents had been gaining territory for months.

With the House now in Republican hands, lawmakers are intent on probing what went wrong.

Thursday’s session of the House subcommittee on oversight and accountability began with Rep. Brian Mast, the chairman, recognizing the mother of Sgt. Nicole Gee, the mother of Cpl. Hunter Lopez, and the parents of Cpl. Humberto Sanchez, who all died in the blast at the airport’s Abbey Gate in August 2021.

‘Thank you for raising patriots and I’m sorry for your loss,’ he said.

The Americans killed in the blast were: (left to right, starting with top row) Cpl. Daegan W. Page - Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo - Staff Sgt. Darin T. Hoover - Lance Cpl. David L. Espinoza - Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum - Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui - Cpl. Hunter Lopez - Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz - Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss - Cpl. Humberto A. Sanchez - Navy Corpsman Maxton W. Soviak - Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola - Sgt. Nicole L. Gee

The Americans killed in the blast were: (left to right, starting with top row) Cpl. Daegan W. Page – Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo – Staff Sgt. Darin T. Hoover – Lance Cpl. David L. Espinoza – Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum – Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui – Cpl. Hunter Lopez – Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz – Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss – Cpl. Humberto A. Sanchez – Navy Corpsman Maxton W. Soviak – Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola – Sgt. Nicole L. Gee

In his opening remarks he said Biden was the ultimate decision maker in the process to withdraw.

‘The president’s withdraw was a complete and utter catastrophe,’ he said. 

‘The images of people hanging off of planes and desperate parents handing their babies over the airport walls to soldiers are seared into our country’s collective conscience.’

Colonel (Ret.) Seth Krummrich, former chief of staff at Special Operations Command Central, and Command Sergeant Major Jacob Smith, of the 10th Mountain Division, were the session’s witnesses.

But the most telling moment came when Rep. Mast addressed the families in the gallery.

The withdrawal will be remembered for the chaotic scenes of desperate Afghans trying to escape the Taliban at Hamid Karzai International Airport

The withdrawal will be remembered for the chaotic scenes of desperate Afghans trying to escape the Taliban at Hamid Karzai International Airport

Thousands of Afghans were flown to safety after the Taliban seized control of the country while U.S. forces headed for the exit, plunging Afghanistan into uncertainty

Thousands of Afghans were flown to safety after the Taliban seized control of the country while U.S. forces headed for the exit, plunging Afghanistan into uncertainty

‘To the families sitting behind you, that are still clearly morning, by nodding your head, yes or no,’ he asked: ‘Do you feel like this administration has taken ownership and accountability?’

They shook their heads.

‘I didn’t think so,’ he said.

Rep. Mike McCaul, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said true leaders own their mistakes.

‘Rather than prioritizing U.S. national security and the safety of thousands of Americans, they forced this rapid withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan on an artificial timeline,’ he said. 

‘And the number is going to be September the 11th. What an insult to the victims of 9/11.’



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