When Marine Sniper Sgt Tyler Vargus-Andrews testified before Congress about the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan, he made a shocking statement. He stated that he and other snipers had the suicide bomber in their sights before the blast but their commander would not green-light the shot. The statement directly conflicted with the CENTCOM report on the Afghanistan withdrawal, which found that the attack was not preventable.
However, at a House hearing on March 8, Marine Corps Sgt. Tyler Vargas-Andrews said he, Sgt. Charles Schilling and an unnamed individual spotted the suicide bomber from their perch in the sniper tower, located near the sewage canal and the gate itself, sometime just before 1 p.m. on the day of the blast, according to a transcript. The unnamed individual had previously provided descriptions of the man who Vargas-Andrews believed to be the suicide bomber.
Vargas-Andrews requested permission to engage with the suspect and presented evidence to the battalion commander, LT. Col. Brad Whited, Vargas-Andrews testified.
“We asked if we could shoot. Our battalion commander said, ‘I don’t know,’” Vargas-Andrews told Congress. Daily Caller
Thirteen US service members and 170 Afghans were killed in the attack, along with numerous people who were severely injured, like Sgt Tyler Vargas-Andrews.
“There was nothing about knowing who the guy was — who the terrorist was —nothing about having eyes on [him], nothing about the battalion commander being requested permission to fire — nothing about any of that.” Retired Col. Kurt Schlicht
Other Marines on the ground at Kabul airport, however, assumed the snipers had taken care of the problem.
“I had knowledge that the bomber was identified and found out that he was identified when we were there. I assumed they had taken care of it. Not too recently that I found out that they hadn’t done anything about it.” Tadeo Guerra a Lance Corporal in the Marine Corps at the time to the Daily Caller
Sgt Vargas-Andrews stated that he was not interviewed by the military conducting the CENTCOM report. Since it was his sniper team, it would seem like a logical person to interview. But the rationale of the Military was that such lethal fire decisions were not discussed with the families because it isn’t easily understood.
“Naturally that isn’t always discussed with the families” because it is “not easily determined or understood.” Retired Col. Seth Goldberg
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