BREAKING NEWS: ISIS-K suicide bomber was released from prison by the Taliban just DAYS before killing 13 US service members and hundreds of Afghan civilians in Kabul bomb blast
- ISIS-K bomber has been identified as Abdul Rehman Al-Loghri by US officials
- He was released from a prison on Bagram Air Base 11 days before the attack
- On August 26 Al-Loghri set off an explosion that killed more than 180 people
- The Taliban released thousands of prisoners from two facilities near Kabul
- American troops abandoned Bagram Air Base in July, and have been criticized
The ISIS-K suicide bomber who set off an explosion outside Hamid Karzai International airport and slaughtered hundreds of people was freed from prison just days earlier by the Taliban, it was revealed Wednesday.
In the final days of the US military withdrawal from Afghanistan, a blast ripped through the crowd outside Kabul airport. It killed 13 US service members and more than 170 Afghans.
The man who carried out the bombing was imprisoned at the Parwan prison at Bagram Air Force base 11 days before the devastating attack, House Rep. Kevin Calvert (R-CA) and two other US officials told CNN.
Calvert said he was briefed on the information by national security officials.
Two US officials confirmed the man’s identity as Abdul Rehman Al-Loghri, who was named by ISIS-K when they took credit for the attack.
Bagram was under US control until early July, when its abandonment spurred widespread criticism.
It was run by Afghan authorities from 2013.
The attacker’s identity was confirmed to be Abdul Rehman Al-Loghri
Parwan and nearby Pul-e-Charkhi prison, both near Kabul, were taken under Taliban control when the militants made their lightning advance to seize the Afghan capital.
Taliban fighters freed all of the hundreds of ISIS-K prisoners and thousands of others when they emptied both jails the same day the capital fell.
ISIS-K is an Afghanistan-based affiliate of the Islamic State.
The group is a sworn enemy of the Taliban, and in the airport attack on August 26, the insurgent group condemned the violence and claimed some of its fighters were hurt as well.
The release of thousands of prisoners from facilities in Afghanistan was one of the first of numerous criticisms hurled at President Joe Biden over the crisis.
House Republican leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy said in late August: ‘President Biden handed over billions of dollars in American military weaponry to the Taliban. They now have more Blackhawk helicopters than Australia, and they have released thousands of ISIS terrorists from prison.’
It’s not clear when the Biden administration became aware that the Taliban released the bomber. The White House hasn’t immediately responded to a request for comment.
In the weeks since the withdrawal the Biden administration has emphasized a firm but encouraging approach to the Taliban entering the global community.
The president has vowed to keep a close eye on the new government, specifically within the realm of human rights, but his administration has already resumed giving Afghanistan millions of aid dollars.
It’s not immediately clear how Monday’s report would affect that.
Al-Loghri killed 13 US servicemembers just 11 days after being released from prison by the Taliban
There were approximately 5,000 prisoners at Bagram when US forces handed full control of the air base over to the Afghan military. An Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman had told CNN they were mostly terrorists.
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley spoke to the US military and intelligence communities’ fears that the Taliban controlling Afghanistan could once again turn the country into a hotbed for terrorism last week.
‘It’s a real possibility in the not too distant future – six, 12, 18, 24, 36 months that kind of timeframe – for reconstitution of al Qaeda or ISIS,’ he said at a Congressional hearing.
US intelligence reports have also flagged concerns that groups like Al Qaeda could see a resurgence less than two years after an American withdrawal.
But the recent CNN report, which notes that Al-Loghri went from prisoner to terrorist attacker in under two weeks, casts fears that the timeline for fostering more and greater attacks could be even shorter.
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