WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a hearing before the House Armed Services Committee, CENTCOM Commander Kenneth Mckenzie confirmed to Rep. Gallagher that the Taliban’s Badri 313 unit, which specializes in suicide martyrdom, was guarding the Kabul airport prior to the suicide bombing that killed 13 American troops.
Watch Rep. Gallagher’s full line of questioning HERE, or read a portion of the transcript below.
Rep. Gallagher: General McKenzie, do you know which Taliban forces were actually providing security in front of the airport?
Gen. McKenzie: Yes, we do.
Rep. Gallagher: Was it Badri 313?
Gen. McKenzie: They were part of it. There were other elements as well as a hodgepodge of units-
Rep. Gallagher: But Badri 313 was part-
Gen. McKenzie: Among others.
Rep. Gallagher: Among others a group that specializes in suicide bombing attacks. Had the suicide bomber been in prison? I think you suggested to Congresswoman Hartzler that the suicide bomber might have been imprisoned in Bagram before? Do we
Gen. McKenzie: I don’t believe that I- I don’t recall suggesting that.
Rep. Gallagher: Okay, so do we know whether he had been?
Gen. McKenzie: We are still working very hard to find out where the suicide bomber came from.
Rep. Gallagher: Did we have an opportunity to take him out prior to the suicide bombing attack?
Gen. McKenzie: We did not.
Rep. Gallagher: We did not have an opportunity to take him out. And just finally: does the over-horizon posture that we’re now adopting- will that require…will that be more or less difficult now that we are out of the country?
Gen. McKenzie: I’ve said on the record it will be very difficult to do; it is not impossible to do.