White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki sidestepped questions Wednesday about whether the U.S. should have fought to keep control of Bagram Air Base once reports that the Taliban released the suicide bomber who would later kill 13 U.S. service members nearly 100 Afghans.
When the Taliban took control of the Bagram detention center on Aug 15, they released thousands of prisoners, among them, was Jihadist, Abdul Rehman. Only days later Rehman would kill 13 U.S. service members and nearly 100 Afghan civilians in Kabul.
“Well, I can’t speak to the specific case, I’d … leave it to the intelligence community to speak to that,” Psaki answered when asked about reports. “I’d remind you that, as it relates to Bagram, there was a decision made to close Bagram because it wasn’t strategically in the interest of the United States and our national security to keep it open.”
Psaki was asked whether the administration would have still decided to close Bagram knowing what they know now, she again referred to the intelligence community.
The decision to give up Bagram Air Base was under scrutiny even before Rehman was released, due to the mayhem surrounding the U.S. scramble to evacuate Americans and Afghan allies from Hamid Karzai International Airport.
“How did this get so mismanaged?” Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger asked in August. “Bagram was a secure military installation with a gigantic airfield. Can you imagine if we still had that?”
Rehman was sent to Bagram following his arrest in India for his part in an Islamic State plot to facilitate suicide bombings in New Delhi and other cities in the region.
“America’s disorganized retreat from Afghanistan has led to hundreds of highly-competent and highly-committed terrorists being set free to rejoin the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and other terrorist groups,” an officer who worked on Rehman’s case told FirstPost.
“Literally a decade’s work on counter-terrorism has been undone by the US’ failure to secure key prisoners in Bagram,” he added.