Press Release | Feb. 4, 2022

Military Officials brief Media on investigation results of ISIS-K bombing at Abbey Gate

USCENTCOM

TAMPA, Fla.  –  

February 04, 2022

Release # 20220204-01

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

A Military investigative team briefed news media today at the Pentagon on results of the Army Regulation 15-6 investigation into the ISIS-K bombing at Abbey Gate, Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan that caused the deaths of 13 Servicemembers, August 26, 2021.

The investigative team, led by Brig. Gen. Lance Curtis interviewed more than 130 people, spanning five countries over a period of three and a half months. Curtis briefed results of the investigation that a single, explosive device killed at least 160 Afghan civilians and 13 U.S. servicemembers by explosively propelling ball bearings through a packed crowd. The results also found no definitive evidence that anyone was injured or killed by gunfire, either U.S. or Afghan.

Prior to Brig. Gen. Curtis’ briefing, Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie, Jr., Commander, U.S. Central Command delivered opening remarks. “I found the volume of the evidence collected, the testimony of more than a hundred people, the analysis of experts, the findings of fact, and the conclusions of the team based upon that evidence a compelling and truthful examination of the event,” said McKenzie.

McKenzie acknowledged the investigation officially refutes information he provided the press on the day of the attack where he indicated that this was a complex operation by both a suicide bomber and ISIS-K gunmen. The findings determined that explosively propelled ball bearings caused wounds that resembled gunshots, and when combined with a small number of warning shots, led many to assume that a complex attack had occurred. “The fact that this investigation has contradicted what I originally said, demonstrates to me that the team went into this investigation with an open mind in search of the truth,” said McKenzie.

Beyond the contradiction of initial reports, the investigation found that military leadership on the ground appropriately engaged force protection measures throughout evacuation operations at Abbey Gate. Medical services were available and ready to provide life-saving operations whenever possible.

“While nothing can bring back the 11 Marines, 1 Soldier and Sailor that we tragically lost in the attack, it is important that we fully understand what happened,” said McKenzie.

Links to Abbey Gate videos:

Link to Transcript:

General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., Commander, U.S. Central Command, Holds a Press Briefing > U.S. Central Command > Transcripts (centcom.mil)