A suicide bombing outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul last Thursday killed more than 150 people, including 13 American troops. The bombing provoked the US into launching two drone strikes, one targeting an alleged “planner”and “facilitator” with the group responsible, and another supposedly wiping out “multiple” would-be suicide bombers but reportedly annihilating a family and children alongside them.
The initial bombing didn’t take US officials by surprise. The US embassy in Kabul had warned Americans to stay away from the airport due to “security threats” and, in the hours before the suicide attack, Pentagon leaders held a conference call to prepare for an imminent “mass casualty event,” according to a Politico report on Monday.
The report says Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke on Wednesday with senior Pentagon leaders – including Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Peter Vasely, commander of American forces in Afghanistan, and Maj. Gen. Christopher Donahue, commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division at Kabul Airport.
Milley warned of “significant” intelligence indicating that ISIS-K, a regional offshoot of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terror group was plotting a “complex attack,” and the brass in Afghanistan stated that the attack would likely take place at the airport’s Abbey Gate, where droves of Afghans had gathered in the hopes of a spot on an evacuation flight.
The attack was due to take place within the following 24-48 hours, according to notes from the conference call detail.