Marine Was Told to Stand Down During Afghanistan Withdrawal, Details Heartbreaking Experience

Marine Sgt. Tyler Vargas-Andrews appears in front of House Foreign Affairs Committee. (Credit:
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Marine sniper Sgt. Tyler Vargas-Andrews, who lost an arm and a leg in a suicide bombing during the chaotic US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021, appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee Wednesday to describe his ordeal and let the world know that the entire affair was horribly botched.


Struggling to hold back tears, he told the committee:

The withdrawal was a catastrophe in my opinion and there was an inexcusable lack of accountability and negligence.


Worse still, Vargas-Andrews was given the order to stand down when he spotted what he thought was a terrorist roaming through the crowds at the Kabul Airport. Unfortunately, he was right:

Marine sniper Sgt. Tyler Vargas-Andrews was on a security detail in a Kabul tower, watching desperate Afghans trying to flee the brutal Taliban, when he was blindsided by an enormous wave of pressure.

It was August 26, 2021, and an ISIS-K suicide bomber had detonated on the perimeter of Hamid Karzai International Airport during the chaotic evacuation sparked by the Biden administration’s withdrawal of troops after 20 years in Afghanistan.

Just moments before the attack, the California veteran spotted a terrorist matching the suspect’s description and asked if he could ‘engage’, but he says his leaders refused.

The blast killed hundreds, including 11 fellow Marines and two Navy corpsmen. The Sargeant himself was left with 100-150 ball bearings in his body, has endured 43 surgeries, and lost his right arm and leg.


He described repeated instances of asking for permission to engage because the Taliban were shooting Afghans trying to get on airplanes and there were intelligence reports of an imminent IED attack. He was denied each time:

“Plain and simple, we were ignored. Our expertise was disregarded, no one was held accountable for our safety,” he told the committee.

He also described the moments after the blast:

“I’m thrown 12 feet onto the ground but instantly knew what happened. I opened my eyes to Marines dead or unconscious and lying around,” he said through tears.

“A crowd of hundreds immediately vanished in front of me and my body was catastrophically wounded with 100 to 150 ball bearings now in it.”

The catastrophic withdrawal was ordered by President Joe Biden against the advice of many of his own intelligence and military leaders. The country is now firmly in the hands of the ruthless Taliban, who have engaged in systemic repression and violence.

Texas GOP Representative Michael McCaul, chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, spoke before Vargas-Andrews and didn’t mince words:


What happened in Afghanistan was a systemic breakdown of the federal government at every level, and a stunning failure of leadership by the Biden administration.

Biden’s blunders have been many, but the disastrous pullout will perhaps go down as his biggest stain on history. It’s amazing to me that it took a Republican takeover of the House to finally start getting some real answers and to throw some sunlight on what actually happened.

The whole shameful episode should be fully exposed.

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