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Afghanistan vet rejects assessment Kabul attack not preventable

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(NewsNation) — It’s been two years since the Biden administration pulled U.S. forces out of Afghanistan in an exit that killed 13 American service members when an ISIS-K operative detonated a suicide bomb outside the Kabul airport.

Afghanistan War veteran James Hasson rejects the Pentagon’s assessment the attack could not have been prevented.

“All the service members that we spoke to on the ground, which were quite a few, share the conclusion that we came to in our book,” Hasson said Thursday on “The Hill on NewsNation.”

Hasson and Jerry Dunleavy are co-authors of the book, “Kabul: The Untold Story of Biden’s Fiasco and the American Warriors who Fought to the End.” The pair chronicled the Afghanistan withdrawal, drawing on eyewitness accounts and documents from the Pentagon’s own investigation into the attack.

Documents obtained by NewsNation —  including sworn statements from military members who were at the scene — suggest the suicide bombing at the Kabul airport may have been preventable.

In one interview with a servicemember whose name is redacted, the servicemember said, “Intelligence officers at the Kabul Airport knew that ISIS-K was staging in a hotel 2-3 kilometers west of the airport.”

Per the documents, Lt. Gen. Chris Donahue reached out to the Taliban to ask them to conduct an assault on the ISIS targets at the hotel, but the organization did not choose to engage.

According to Dunleavy’s reporting for the book, “the bomber himself was in prison at Bagram (Air Base) when we abandoned it,” he said.

The documents raise questions about the Kabul airport bombing and the actions taken — or not taken — by U.S. military personnel that day. Earlier this year, a former Marine sniper wounded in the attack testified to Congress that his team believed it had identified the suicide bomber earlier that day, prior to the attack.

Sgt. Tyler Vargas-Andrews told the House Foreign Affairs Committee in March his team was not given authorization to take out the suspected threat due to military leadership’s uncertainty as to who held authority to give the go-ahead.

“When the sniper team asked who does (have authority), the answer they got was ‘I don’t know, I’ll get back to you,'” Hasson said. “They never got an answer, the bomber disappeared into the crowd, and hours later carnage happened.”

NewsNation’s Joe Khalil and Zaid Jilani contributed to this report.

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