U.S. Blew Up a C.I.A. Post Used to Evacuate At-Risk Afghans

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Politics|A heavy fortified C.I.A. basal successful Kabul is destroyed.


With an detonation heard crossed Kabul, Americans destroyed the basal truthful its contents would not autumn to the Taliban.

Afghans extracurricular  Kabul’s airdrome  connected  Thursday. While astir   Afghans trying to flight  the metropolis  person  gone to the airport, the C.I.A. has shepherded hundreds of others, astatine  peculiar  hazard  of reprisals, to a basal  it destroyed connected  Thursday.
Credit...Jim Huylebroek for The New York Times

Published Aug. 27, 2021Updated Aug. 28, 2021, 2:39 a.m. ET

A controlled detonation by American forces that was heard passim Kabul has destroyed Eagle Base, the last C.I.A. outpost extracurricular the Kabul airport, U.S. officials said connected Friday.

Blowing up the basal was intended to guarantee that immoderate instrumentality oregon accusation near down would not autumn into the hands of the Taliban.

Eagle Base, archetypal started aboriginal successful the warfare astatine a erstwhile ceramic factory, had been utilized passim the conflict. It grew from a tiny outpost to a sprawling halfway that was utilized to bid the counterterrorism forces of Afghanistan’s quality agencies.

Those forces were immoderate of the lone ones to support warring arsenic the authorities collapsed, according to existent and erstwhile officials.

“They were an exceptional unit,” said Mick Mulroy, a erstwhile C.I.A. serviceman who served successful Afghanistan. “They were 1 of the superior means the Afghan authorities has utilized to support the Taliban astatine bay implicit the past 20 years. They were the past ones fighting, and they took dense casualties.”

Local Afghans knew small astir the base. The compound was highly unafraid and designed to beryllium each but intolerable to penetrate. Walls reaching 10 feet precocious surrounded the site, and a heavy metallic gross slid unfastened and unopen rapidly to let cars inside.

Once inside, cars inactive had to wide 3 outer information checkpoints wherever the vehicles would beryllium searched and documents would beryllium screened earlier being allowed wrong the base.

In the aboriginal years of the war, a inferior C.I.A. serviceman was enactment successful complaint of the Salt Pit, a detention tract adjacent Eagle Base. There the serviceman ordered a prisoner, Gul Rahman, stripped of his covering and shackled to a wall. He died of hypothermia. A C.I.A. committee recommended disciplinary enactment but was overruled.

A erstwhile C.I.A. contractor said that leveling the basal would person been nary casual task. In summation to burning documents and crushing hard drives, delicate instrumentality needed to beryllium destroyed truthful it did not autumn into the hands of the Taliban. Eagle Base, the erstwhile contractor said, was not similar an embassy wherever documents could beryllium rapidly burned.

The base’s demolition had been planned and was not related to the immense detonation astatine the airdrome that killed an estimated 170 Afghans and 13 American work members. But the detonation, hours aft the airdrome attack, alarmed galore radical successful Kabul, who feared that it was different violent bombing.

The authoritative American ngo successful Afghanistan to evacuate U.S. citizens and Afghan allies is acceptable to extremity adjacent Tuesday. The Taliban person said that the evacuation effort indispensable not beryllium prolonged, and Biden medication officials accidental that continuing past that day would importantly summation the risks to some Afghans and U.S. troops.

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