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Parents of servicemembers killed in Kabul terrorist attack demand answers from Biden Admin

Family members of the 13 US service members killed two years ago during the US withdrawal from Afghanistan demanded accountability and answers from the Biden administration in emotional testimony about the withdrawal and their losses.

On Tuesday, the parents of several of the 13 killed met with the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The parents seated around the table, sharing personal accounts of who their children were before the suicide bombing on August 26, 2021, which killed 11 Marines, one Navy corpsman, and one soldier along with more than 170 Afghan civilians.

“Jared, David, Nicole, Taylor, Ryan, Hunter, Riley, Dylan, Kareem, Johnanny, Humberto, Max, and Daegan are not just casualties of war,” Jaclyn Schmitz, the mother of Marine Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz, said at a roundtable on Tuesday convened by House Foreign Affairs Republican Chairman Mike McCaul. “They are sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, that were pawns in some agenda, and we deserve some information and collaboration from all political parties. It may not be easy, or on your specific schedule or docket, but neither was any of this, for all of us, until it was.”

(top row left to right) Maxton Soviak, Kareem Nikoui, David Espinoza, Rylee McCollum, Jared Schmitz, Taylor Hoover, Nicole Gee
(bottom row left to right) Ryan Knauss, Hunter Lopez, Johanny Rosario, Humberto Sanchez, Daegan Page, Dylan Merola

The families’ comments come months after the Biden administration released a summary of findings from an administration-wide after-action review on the withdrawal.

The summary largely placed the blame for difficulties experienced during the withdrawal on the Trump administration, and acknowledged some lessons learned regarding evacuations. The State Department’s after-action review, however, offered a sharper rebuke of decisions made by the Biden administration that resulted in the chaotic withdrawal.

The Defense Department has not released an unclassified version of its after-action review but did release the official investigation by US Central Command into the Abbey Gate bombing that included sworn testimony from more than 100 witnesses.

During the meeting, the parents of local fallen Marine Corporal Hunter Lopez issued this challenge to President Joe Biden. 

"I, personally will pose a challenge to the President. I think our children, our sons and daughters had more courage in their little fingers than this man has shown while he's been in office, so my challenge is, tell the truth"

- herman lopez, hunter's father

"I request accountability and I request for this not to happen again because god forbid, without the planning and plans in place, that I receive another knock on my door for a mistake that they have already caused," Alicia Lopez added.

Check Out: Hunter's Mother, Alicia, Spoke In-Depth With News Channel 3 About Calls for Accountability

Community gathers to honor Cpl Hunter Lopez and 12 servicemembers killed  one year ago - KESQ

Lopez's father, Herman Lopez, also responded to a statement released Tuesday by General Mark Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Milley's statement, shared to news agencies, addressed claims that Gold Star families were given incorrect information -- saying that briefers did the best they could. 

“We owe them transparency, we owe them honesty, we owe them accountability if appropriate. We owe them the truth about what happened to their loved ones,” Milley said, according to the statement provided to CNN.

“This is a personal thing for all of us in uniform,” he said. “We don’t like what happened in Afghanistan. We don’t like the outcome of Afghanistan. We owe it to the families to take care of them. Their sacrifices were not in vain.”

"The issue is not the briefing the issue is not the lack of information during those briefings. it is a disregard of intelligence. it is the disregard of planning. that's what you should be apologizing for," Herman Lopez said.

Saturday marked two years since the 13 servicemembers lost their lives. The city of La Quinta honored "Hunter Lopez Day" on the two-year anniversary of the bombing

A scholarship fund has been established in Hunter's name for students at LQHS who pursue careers in public service.

To donate, visit:

The family has also created the "Hunter Lopez Memorial Foundation" to help those who protect and serve our nation.

The foundation has already sponsored two service dogs for active service members and sponsored several families to attend their children's graduation from Marine boot camp.

To donate visit:

Check out some of our coverage of Marine Cpl. Hunter Lopez over the past two years:

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KESQ News Team


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