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Ex-US Marine in tears as he describes ‘catastrophe’ of US withdrawal from Afghanistan

Veteran active service personnel and veterans describe in horrific detail the horrors of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Tyler Vargas-Andrews, a former Marine Sergeant from the United States, was one of those who gave evidence to the House of Representatives foreign Affairs committee that examined the handling of the withdrawal.

As Mr Vargas-Andrews described the most tragic moment of the August 2021 US evacuation, a suicide bombing at Kabul’s airport that claimed the lives of 170 Afghans as well as 13 US servicemen or women, Mr Vargas-Andrews wept.

After two suicide bombers had attacked Afghans trying to flee the country by plane, he described the smell of human flesh and the large plume smoke that filled the air.


He stated that Marines and other personnel involved in the evacuation were given descriptions by men suspected of plotting to attack.

Image: In the suicide attack at Kabul Airport, Mr Vargas-Andrews was left with a broken arm and a fractured leg. Pic: AP

Vargas-Andrews lost his right arm and leg in the bombing. He said that he saw two men who matched the description and behaved suspiciously.

Vargas-Andrews stated to the committee that “no one was held responsible”. “No one was and no one is to this day.”

“The withdrawal was a disaster in my opinion.”

Image The image is from a US Defence Department video that shows US Marines at Abbey Gate, Kabul Airport on August 26, 2021 following a suicide bombing

America’s longest war ended with the withdrawal. It lasted 20 years and saw thousands of Afghans starve to death. More than 2,400 Americans were also killed.

In August 2021, thousands of Afghans raced to Kabul Airport in the hope that they could escape the Taliban regime, which had overtaken the capital much faster than US intelligence predicted.

Witnesses at Wednesday’s hearing described seeing dead mothers and the Taliban beating and shooting people at the airport. They portrayed the US’s desperate effort to rescue American citizens, Afghan allies, and blamed insufficient planning and support.

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Aidan Gunderson was an Army medic stationed at Abbey Gate. This is the location where the bomb went off.

“I wonder if our Afghan comrades fled to safety, or were they killed by the Taliban.”

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August 2021: Despair attempts to flee Kabul airport

Donald Trump’s promise to leave Afghanistan was fulfilled by President Biden – even after the fall of Kabul.

Witnesses demanded that action be taken to assist the thousands of Afghan allies who fought alongside US soldiers, and are now stuck in limbo either in the US or in Afghanistan.

“Our veterans know another thing that this committee might want to consider: we might have done with Afghanistan but not with us,” said retired Lieutenant Colonel Scott Mann.

This hearing, which was led by Republicans, is the first in a series that will examine the withdrawal.

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Afghan withdrawal “a catastrophe”

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On Wednesday, Lieutenant Colonel Rob Lodewick, a spokesperson for the Defense Department, stated that no prior review by the Pentagon of the attack on the airport resulted in any advance identification of an attacker or requests for an “escalation of existing rules of engagement” which govern the use of force by US troops.

A US inspector-general John Sopko reported last month that the actions of both the Donald as well as the Biden administrations contributed to the sudden collapse in the Afghan government.

According to the report, all US administrations since 2001 were blamed for failing to create a strong and sustainable Afghan military force before US troops left Afghanistan in August 2021.


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