It has been nearly two years since the U.S. military withdrew in hasty, haphazard fashion from Afghanistan and many questions have been left unanswered. Some of these questions have been answered by a U.S. Marine, Tyler Vargas-Andrews, who survived the deadly suicide bombing at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai Airport on August 26, 2021.
Thirteen other U.S. servicemembers died in the attack at Abbey Gate at the airport. News reports said that ISIS took responsibility for the deadly attack.
On the Shawn Ryan Show, which is a long-form interview style podcast run by former U.S. Navy SEAL and CIA operator Shawn Ryan, Vargas-Andrews discussed a wide range of topics related to his deployment and subsequent near-fatal injuries in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Vargas-Andrews, who lost his right arm and left leg in the attack, was frank about how the Biden administration mishandled the withdrawal from the start. Here are four of the notable stories he shared during the podcast interview:
- Upon deployment in Afghanistan, Vargas-Andrews and his team were not allowed to directly engage the Taliban near the airport. These “rules of engagement” prevented U.S. military servicemembers from protecting civilians who were getting singled out and beaten by members of the Taliban near their location. He saw a number of civilians murdered in cold blood and that he could not do anything about it or he would have been disobeying orders.
- Like others, Vargas-Andrews pointed out the lack of a secure security perimeter for Karzai Airport and how shipping containers separated U.S. military servicemembers from civilians and the Taliban. The lack of hardened security counter-measures, which could not have been said of the abandoned Bagram airbase, put American lives at risk and ultimately cost 13 American lives.
- An Afghan woman was escorted from the airport back outside Abbey Gate and she tried to slit her own throat on the barbed wire fence because she believed that the Taliban would execute her. Escorting military servicemembers stopped her from committing suicide, but that experience stuck with Vargas-Andrews to this day.
- When he was hospitalized at Walter Reed in Bethesda, Maryland, President Joe Biden visited him and apparently tried to shake his hand. But the problem was that his hand was in a giant cast due to injuries suffered in the attack. Vargas-Andrews said, Right away, I remember him coming up to me trying to shake my hand, shake my right hand, and I look at him, and I’m like, ‘I don’t have an arm.’ My left arm is in this big a– cast with this giant orange f–king foam block around it. I’m completely immobile. All I can do is move my head.”
- Biden asked Vargas-Andrews, “What do you want?” To which, Vargas-Andrews said he responded, “What?” The Marine said that the question confused him because “I just got blown up. Just f–king saw my friends die next to me. Like, I just want to be myself.”
As Vargas-Andrews’ interview demonstrated, the botched Afghanistan withdrawal has lasting consequences, regardless of the mainstream media’s narrative (or outright blackout of Afghanistan-related news) and the rhetoric coming from the Biden administration.
Accuracy in Academia remembers the sacrifices of the fallen servicemembers from the attack:
- U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) Lance Corporal David L. Espinoza, age 20
- USMC Sergeant Nicole L. Gee, age 23
- USMC Staff Sergeant Darin T. Hoover, age 31
- U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Ryan C. Knauss, age 23
- USMC Corporal Hunter Lopez, age 22
- USMC Lance Corporal Rylee J. McCollum, age 20
- USMC Lance Corporal Dylan R. Merola, age 20
- USMC Lance Corporal Kareem M. Nikoui, age 20
- USMC Sergeant Johanny Rosario Pichardo, age 25
- USMC Corporal Humberto A. Sanchez, age 22
- USMC Lance Corporal Jared M. Schmitz, age 20
- U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman Maxton W. Soviak, age 22
- USMC Corporal Daegan W. Page, age 23
To watch the interview, watch the video below or click the link here.