Politico has released communications that prove that the president and the Pentagon knew of an attack on Kabul airport 2 hours in advance but they didn’t stop it. They have a confidential source inside the Pentagon that gave them copies of the messages. The informant copies of three conference calls to Politico as proof of their assertions.
Speaking from a secure video conference room on the third floor of the Pentagon at 8 a.m. Wednesday — or 4:30 p.m. in Kabul — Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin instructed more than a dozen of the department’s top leaders around the world to make preparations for an imminent “mass casualty event,” according to classified detailed notes of the gathering shared with POLITICO.
During the meeting, Gen. Mark Milley, the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned of “significant” intelligence indicating that the Islamic State’s Afghanistan affiliate, ISIS-K, was planning a “complex attack,” the notes quoted him as saying.
Commanders calling in from Kabul relayed that the Abbey Gate, where American citizens had been told to gather in order to gain entrance to the airport, was “highest risk,” and detailed their plans to protect the airport.
Later that day, officials on another call decided to close the Abbey Gate by that afternoon. They later decided to keep the gate open so that the British could evacuate their citizens, That turned out to be a disastrous mistake because ISIS entered the gate and set off explosions that killed over 200 people including 13 soldiers.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby criticized Politico for digging into what happened in Afghanistan. How dare they print the truth?
“This story is based on the unlawful disclosure of classified information and internal deliberations of a sensitive nature. As soon as we became aware of the material divulged to the reporter, we engaged Politico at the highest levels to prevent the publication of information that would put our troops and our operations at the airport at greater risk.
“We condemn the unlawful disclosure of classified information and oppose the publication of a story based on it while a dangerous operation is ongoing.’
Relationships with the Taliban as allies to help get the evacuation going faster haven’t panned out and Taliban militants have held up convoys of evacuees needlessly:
On the call, Vasely also described how NATO allies were having problems with the Taliban obstructing an earlier convoy, including Swedes, Danes, Dutch and other personnel.
Despite the tensions, the military continued relaying to the militants precise details about timelines for the withdrawal and the processes for getting American citizens through the gates, Vasely said, according to the call notes. They also allowed the Taliban to operate buses picking up people for evacuation, he added.