Marines stationed at Kabul airport’s Abbey Gate last year were give a description by the CIA of a suicide bomber two days before an explosion ripped through the chaotic evacuation, according to one of the troops wounded in the blast.
They spotted him observing their position but were denied permission when they asked to open fire on him.
Thirteen U.S. service personnel and at least 170 Afghans died on August 26, 2021, when the Islamic State bomber detonated his explosives.
Tristan Hirsch was a U.S. Marine stationed at the gate at the heart of the chaos.
He survived the blast and has since left military life, allowing him the freedom to describe the events leading up to the attack.
He described Taliban executions in the crush of people trying to escape, the presence of a second suicide bomber and claimed Marines had seen the first bomber in the area for two days – but were not allowed to kill him.
‘We knew about him two days prior to the attack,’ Hirsch, 24, told his local newspaper in California, the Chico Enterprise-Record.
‘We knew what he looked like. The CIA let us know; he looked exactly as they’d described him.’
They had been told that a man on a suicide mission, and preparing for heaven, would look different to the tired, hungry hordes who were besieging the airport looking for help to get out. They were on the look out for someone looking freshly showered with a well-trimmed beard.