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LOGANSPORT, Ind. — On Friday, the Pentagon released its findings into the deadly Aug. 26 attack in Kabul that claimed the lives of 13 U.S. service members, left 45 others wounded, and killed at least 160 Afghan civilians.

During the blast, 11 Marines, a soldier and a sailor were killed in the attack, including Logansport native, 22-year-old Marine Corps Cpl. Humberto “Bert” Sanchez.

“We have completed our solemn duty of informing surviving family members about the results of the investigation, and we’re now providing it to the public in order to better inform you about the facts surrounding this tragic loss of life,” said Marine Corps Gen. Frank McKenzie, commander of U.S. Central Command.

McKenzie and a team of U.S. Central Command investigators shared the results of a months-long investigation launched into the attack that happened days before an Aug. 31 deadline set by President Biden to withdraw troops from Afghanistan after two decades of American military presence.

Coral Briseño, Sanchez’s mother, said the Department of Defense sent a representative to their home last week to share with them the findings of the investigation ahead of Friday’s announcement.

“It was a really hard shock for us because we knew what happened, we knew kind of how it happened, but like, positions, distances, time frames, we didn’t know that,” said Briseño.

The investigative team, led by Brig. Gen. Lance Curtis, said it conducted 70 interviews, spanning from one to six hours each, of more than 130 people, spanning five countries, over a period of three and a half months. It also relied heavily on drone footage and video evidence to draw conclusions.

Officials admitted that the findings announced Friday contradicted initial reports shared immediately after the bombing.

“At this point, I want to acknowledge, that the investigation differs from what we initially believed on the day of the attack,” said General McKenzie.

On Friday, officials said despite initial reports that the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber and also included gunmen firing into the crowd, it was carried out by a lone ISIS-K bomber, with no definitive evidence that anyone was injured or killed by gunfire, either U.S. or Afghan.

Military officials said the bombing at Abbey Gate, caused by a single, explosive device, led to the deaths of at least 160 Afghan civilians and 13 U.S. servicemembers by “explosively propelling ball bearings through a packed crowd” and mimicked wounds that resembled those caused by gunfire. That, combined with the warning shots, led officials to believe a complex attack initially occurred, investigators said.

“The disturbing lethality of this device was confirmed by the 58 U.S. servicemembers who were killed and wounded despite the universal wear of body armor and helmets that did stop ball bearings that impacted them, but could not prevent catastrophic injuries to areas not covered,” said McKenzie.

The Abbey Gate entrance to the airport was the only available entry point for those trying to evacuate the country on Aug. 26, the day of the attack. Other gates had been shut down due to threats and vulnerabilities and despite military officials confirming they were also aware of threats against Abbey Gate, they said they did not have information on when one might occur.

“I’m going to be honest with you, I was upset,” said Briseño.

Investigators said the decision to keep the gate open was understandable given the ongoing efforts to try and evacuate many Afghans with valid travel documents as well as foreign allies. Officials also said it was done in effort to prevent rushes of Afghans seeking refuge from overrunning the airfield, like what happened on Aug. 16.

At the press briefing, Pentagon officials said the joint task force commander at the airport held a meeting with British commanders and the Taliban at the Abbey Gate just 36 minutes prior to the blast, but would not confirm whether any decisions were made on closing the gate.

“This was not preventable, and the leaders on the ground followed the proper measures and any time there was an imminent threat warning, they followed the proper procedures. They lowered their profile, they sought cover, and at times, they even ceased operations at the gate,” said Curtis.

Investigators shared during the briefing, it was “highly likely” that the attacker used an alternate route to reach Abbey Gate and avoid Taliban checkpoints, noting that the bomber would not have had to show ID before getting close enough to U.S. servicemembers to carry out the attack.

Officials said the investigation concluded that military leaders took appropriate measures to engage and protect their forces throughout the operation at Abbey Gate, and that medical services were available and saved every life possible through heroic efforts.

Military officials presented detailed and graphic findings, drone footage and videos, which also included the locations of where the servicemembers were standing at the time of the explosive attack.

Briseño said learning the specific details of where her son was posted at the time of the bombing has been difficult to process.

“They didn’t close the gate, but they didn’t chicken out. They didn’t run to the opposite direction. They were there, stood their post and stayed there until the last minute,” said Briseño. “When you see the little dots, the blue and the yellow ones, he was one of the ones on the front. I understand his position. His position was, ‘I’m going to keep helping.'”

In his final days and moments, Sanchez was said by other Marines to have been saving vulnerable children and adults, helping them flee to safety. Briseño remembers one of her final conversations with her son and although he was sick, he was determined to continue helping those who couldn’t help themselves.

“I understand his frustration that day I talked to him. I don’t even know how to say it, like, he wanted to do more but he couldn’t,” she said. “When I hear the stories about – when I see that video of him lifting the little girl out of the wall – I cannot even imagine how he’s feeling in those last moments.”

Briseño knows there is nothing that can change the reality of what happened last August, but she wants people to remember those who lost their lives, those who were injured, and those who are forever impacted by what they witnessed during their time serving this country.

“What I want everybody to understand is, how brave they are, not just the 13. All of them, all of the other ones that got injured, all of the other ones that come back and have those bad dreams sometimes that they are going through – whatever they are going through after Afghanistan, after the airport,” she said. “They are all heroes.”

She also said she hopes people keep in mind the Gold Star families who also lost loved ones during the 20 years of war in Afghanistan.

“I just want everybody to know and understand and give what they deserve when they approach to a service member that they serve our country for us. We are not brave enough,” said Briseño.

She finds comfort in the many, many stories and memories that have been shared with her family about the impact Bert had on those who knew him from training, his time stationed in the U.S. or overseas.

“It just makes me so proud on how many lives he touched, and he was just that special kid,” Briseño said.

Sanchez’s family has established a scholarship fund to accept memorial contributions in his name. Gifts may be sent to the Cpl. Humberto Sanchez Memorial Scholarship Fund, at the Cass County Community Foundation Inc., P.O. Box 441, Logansport, IN 46947 or online.