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As U.S. Troops Searched Afghans, a Bomber in the Crowd Moved In

This is close-up war the breath of the person you are searching is upon you, Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., the head of United States Central Command, said on Thursday after the attack, describing the face-to-face contact between Marines at the airport gate and Afghans they must search before allowing them to enter.
Pentagon officials said they were still piecing together the chain of events that took place at Abbey Gate on Thursday. There will be after-action reviews and storyboards with detailed lists of what led up to that moment. There will be questions: Why were so many service members grouped so close together? How did the bomber evade the Taliban checkpoints? Did someone let him through?
As the scope of the damage became clearer, health officials in Kabul raised the death toll, saying at least 170 people had been killed. Afghans seeking to escape Taliban rule continued to stream to the airport on Friday, but the size of the crowd was estimated in the hundreds, down from the thousands who were there when the blast occurred. The airport remained largely locked down, although evacuation flights continued.
Just after 2 p.m. Friday, as another gray-tailed U.S. aircraft lifted into the sky from the airport, this one carrying the flag-draped coffins of the 13 Americans, the anguish from Thursdays bombing spread from Kabul to Kansas. At the mortuary at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, service members were bracing for the ritual of dressing and preparing yet another group of American troops killed in Afghanistan.
Im never been one for politics and Im not going to start now, Marilyn Soviak, the sister of Maxton Soviak, a Navy corpsman from Ohio who was among the dead, posted on Instagram. What I will say is that my beautiful, intelligent, beat-to-the-sound of his own drum, annoying, charming baby brother was killed yesterday helping to save more

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