UPDATE: Jennifer Griffin of Fox News reports that the official spokesperson for the Department of Defense denies this incident ever happened. We will continue to monitor this story.
Univision aired a bombshell allegation in the midst of its coverage of the United States' disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal. Per former Army Green Beret and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Roger Pardo-Maurer, the Department of Defense had knowledge of the homicide bomber at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, and scrambled a Predator drone only to order it to stand down as it locked on its target. Per Pardo-Maurer, the stand-down order was given in deference to negotiations with the Taliban.
Watch the stunning allegation, as aired on Univision's midday Edición Digital newscast on Tuesday, August 31st, 2021:
ROGER PARDO-MAURER: What is being said by people who were involved is that the Department of Defense already knew who the bomber was, and when (the Kabul attack would happen), and that a Predator drone had a lock on him, OK, and that they refused to grant permission to fire upon that bomber. (Permission) was requested, and was denied. Why? Because we are in this process of negotiating with the Taliban, who aren't even in control of their own government or their own people.
More information will emerge in the days to come but this is a deeply disturbing allegation from which two questions emerge: For how long in advance did we have eyes on the Kabul bomber *prior* to his arrival at HKIA, and who issued the stand down order to the Predator drone operator that had a lock on the Kabul bomber?
Click "Expand" to view the full transcript of the aforementioned interview as aired on Univision's Edición Digital on Tuesday, August 31st, 2021:
PAULINA SODI: The Biden Administration faces serious criticism over the manner in which it has handled the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
SATCHA PRETTO: And we connect with Roger Pardo-Maurer, who was the Deputy Secretary of Defense and also served in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan. We’re glad to have you join us on Edición Digital.
ROGER PARDO-MAURER: Thank you very much. Always a privilege.
PRETTO: Well, Roger, the question many of us are asking ourselves today is: what;s going to happen with those nearly 200 or so Americans that were not evacuated out of Afghanistan?
PARDO-MAURER: Look, we’ve got to get them out. They’re American citizens. We can’t leave anyone behind. Period. Either by reason or by force.
SODI: Roger, considering the results to date, can it be said that this is a mission accomplished?
PARDO-MAURER: No. Absolutely not. But, what mission do you refer to? Because this entire episode, which I call the Battle for Evacuation, we’ve gotten out, as you mentioned, about 122,000. There is an estimated, let’s say, 100 or up to 200 thousand to whom we owe to get out, to get out of Afghanistan. So we’re not even halfway to fulfillment but, indeed, the United States has left Afghanistan so this has entered into another phase. To all those who are asking, “what can I do to help?” “What’s going to happen?” “How are we going to honor our promises to the Afghans?”, I say: calm. We’re going to see how it gets done, but it’s going to get done. Somehow, something is going to get established which people are already talking about an Underground Railroad, inspired by the (original) Underground Railroad with which fugitive slaves were removed from the South prior to the Civil War. So this is by no means over. We’re not even halfway there.
PRETTO: But it will be interesting to see, then, what the strategy that the Biden Administration puts in place. Now, speaking of this president’s legacy, when we’re talking about 13 service members losing their lives over the past few days- in addition to the 2400 over the past 20 years. What legacy does he leave behind after this chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan?
PARDO-MAURER: We can’t even talk about a legacy. These are events that are still just now becoming news. And what they’re already saying, people who are involved, for example, with those 13 service members who- by the way, half were Hispanics. Espinosa, Lopez, Sanchez, Merola, they were Hispanic. What is being said by people who were involved is that the Department of Defense already knew who the bomber was, and when (the Kabul attack would happen), and that a Predator drone had a lock on him, OK, and that they refused to grant permission to fire upon that bomber. (Permission) was requested, and was denied. Why? Because we are in this process of negotiating with the Taliban, who aren't even in control of their own government or their own people. So what is the legacy? It’s too soon to talk about that but it is total chaos, poorly managed.
SODI: Without a doubt, a very interesting issue to analyze. Thank you very much for joining us, Roger Pardo Maurer. Thank you for these words.