The U.S. Air Force revealed this week that they had received intelligence that five individuals who boarded a flight out of Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA) in Kabul back in August intended to hijack the aircraft and that U.S. forces had to quickly move to stop the situation from happening.
The revelation was made in a statement released by the Air Force:
As a steady stream of C-17s entered HKIA, PRTF personnel started tracking military and commercial flights into HKIA. “The data they were tracking was pivotal to managing airflow/airspace and requests for additional airlift support based on the numbers they got through the gates,” [Lt. Col. Brian] Desautels said. On one occasion after they received an intel tip, five people onboard one of the commercial flights intended to hijack the aircraft. “Our team worked to get them clear of the NATO ramp, relocated to the north side away from friendly forces, then ultimately onto the south side where the situation was handled,” he said.
The statement also revealed that combat aircraft on the ground were about to be swarmed when they barely managed to take off on just “a sliver of remaining runway.”
Defense One added:
The chaos extended outside the gates, where many of the same veterans groups now working with the State Department and DOD had scrambled to charter flights and in some cases, flown to Afghanistan themselves to rescue the commandos, interpreters, and other Afghan staff who had helped them during their deployments.
During the two weeks of chaos, many of those groups were working largely on their own, the Air Force said in its Wednesday narrative summarizing the days and weeks leading up to Aug. 31.
During Democrat President Joe Biden’s turbulent pullout from Afghanistan, 13 U.S. troops were killed during an ISIS-K terrorist attack on one of the gates at the airport.
The Air Force added:
The sewage alley near Abbey Gate was packed with over 10,000 people when it was bombed around 6 p.m. local time. The terrorists then engaged with small arms fire. …
Eleven Marines, one Navy corpsman and one Soldier were killed in the attack. Seventeen service members were wounded and received care at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, before being transported to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. One Marine was still in “serious but stable condition,” according to a U.S. Marines spokesperson, as reported Oct. 6.
More than a thousand service members attended the ramp ceremony of the 13 KIA at HKIA. Ramp ceremonies have historically never been shown before, but this one was mistakenly uploaded and then removed on the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service. On social media, veterans and servicemembers shared the photos and memories of their own experiences at ramp ceremonies, as the fall of Afghanistan has been more emotional for many who have served there.