Skip to main content

What we know about the Minnesota National Guard in Afghanistan, at Kabul airport

The soldiers were in Kabul "helping secure Hamid Karzai International Airport."
Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard’s Task Force 1-194, fly on a U.S. Air Force aircraft Aug. 17, 2021,

Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard’s Task Force 1-194, fly on a U.S. Air Force aircraft Aug. 17, 2021,

As many as 1,100 members of the Minnesota National Guard were in Afghanistan when a suicide bomber attacked Kabul's airport, the scene of a large-scale U.S. evacuation effort in recent days.

But more than 24 hours after the explosion, questions remain unanswered about the Minnesota National Guard's exact involvement, and whether any guard members were among those inured or killed in the attack.

The Department of Defense on Aug. 26 acknowledged a "complex" attack at Kabul's Hamid Karzai International Airport, later explained to be a suicide bomber at the airport's Abbey Gate. Another suicide bomber struck a nearby hotel.

Since then, officials say 13 U.S. service members have died, Military Times reports — 10 of them Marines. Another 18 service members suffered injuries. Sixty Afghans died in the attack, and more than 100 were injured.

What we know

A briefing on operations at Hamid Karzai International Airport on Aug. 21, 2021.

A briefing on operations at Hamid Karzai International Airport on Aug. 21, 2021.

Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Aug. 18 that the Minnesota National Guard battalion and two Marine battalions were deployed to Afghanistan on Aug. 12. 

The Minnesota National Guard members, specifically Task Force 1-194, had been stationed in Kuwait since March of 2021, according to the U.S. Army. The task force comprised approximately 1,100 soldiers. The Army also provided three photos of task force members, connected to the mobilization in Afghanistan.

The task force, on its Facebook page, confirmed its presence with a copy of a letter sent to family members, in a post from Aug. 21.

In an Aug. 24 post, the National Guard said Task Force 1-194 had been positioned to respond to the evacuation efforts in Afghanistan. The task force was among those "helping secure Hamid Karzai International Airport during the evacuation of U.S. citizens and allies," according to the National Guard's post.

It later continued: "The task force is securing vital sectors of Hamid Karzai International Airport. In addition, Task Force 1-194 Soldiers are providing humanitarian assistance to U.S. citizens, special immigrant visa holders, and their families."

The Minnesota National Guard also posted about it in a now-deleted tweet Aug. 24. Here's a screengrab via a cached site:

MN National Guard - deleted tweet Afghanistan - Aug 24 2021

Other prominent figures have highlighted the Minnesota National Guard task force's efforts publicly, as early as Aug. 23, including SMA Michael Grinston, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), Maj. Gen. Jo Clyborn, Lt. Gen. Jon Jensen who serves as director of the Army National Guard. 

The task force also shared a U.S. Army Central video Aug. 25, commenting they were "providing medical and in-processing support" to evacuees.

The U.S. Army, in a caption on one ifs photos, said: "Minnesota Soldiers are providing humanitarian assistance to U.S. citizens, special immigrant visa holders, and their families."

What we don't know

1st Lt. Michelle Jaeger interacts with Afghan children on Aug. 21, 2021.

1st Lt. Michelle Jaeger interacts with Afghan children on Aug. 21, 2021.

It's still unclear whether any Minnesota National Guard members were injured or killed in the attack on Kabul's airport.

Neither the National Guard, Minnesota National Guard or Task Force 1-194 have posted publicly about its involvement in Kabul since the attack occurred.

Bring Me The News reached out to the Minnesota National Guard for more information, and was directed to the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Bring Me The News has reached out to that office as well, but has not heard back.

Next Up

Richfield High School

New threat prompts closure of Richfield secondary schools

The new threat comes after a shooting outside the Richfield High School football game Friday night.

Screen Shot 2022-09-25 at 6.09.38 PM

Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg to headline Duluth rally

The rally will take place at Leif Erikson Park on Oct. 1.

Screen Shot 2022-09-26 at 6.09.43 AM

Stella's Fish Cafe closes temporarily to investigate viral rodent video

The Uptown restaurant said it was closing temporarily so it could investigate the claims.

Governor Tim Walz

Walz, judge in dispute over Feeding Our Future case

A Ramsey County judge disputed Walz's claims that the Minnesota Department of Education was ordered by the court to resume payments to Feeding Our Future.

ambulance

2 dead, 1 with life-threatening injuries in Hwy. 7 crash

Both drivers were not wearing their seatbelt, according to the State Patrol.

Screen Shot 2022-09-25 at 11.50.33 AM

15-year-old Richfield football game shooting suspect arrested

A 16-year-old accused of instigating the altercation is also in custody.

Police tape

3 arrested after homicide, burglary in Inver Grove Heights

Charges of first-degree murder and first-degree burglary are pending.

fire, firefighter

Woman dies after becoming trapped in Waseca house fire

Police tried to enter the home but heavy smoke prevented them from getting inside.

ambulance

1 dead, 2 with life-threatening injuries in Minnesota crash

The crash happened just after 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Image (1)

School bus carrying students plunges into river southwest of Fargo

None of the kids suffered life-threatening injuries, though some were taken to area hospitals.

Richfield High School

Richfield High School cancels weekend events after shooting

Two men were shot outside the school's football stadium

Related

MN National Guard soldiers will head to Guantanamo Bay for the first time

They'll help in the mission to conduct "safe, humane, legal and transparent care and custody of detainees."

National Guard

Man charged in connection to shooting that injured National Guard troops

Four soldiers were inside a military vehicle that was shot at.

Andrew Thomas booking photo

8 years in prison for man charged with shooting at National Guard

He was accused of firing multiple shots at soldiers patrolling Minneapolis.

Minnesota troops heading to Qatar and Afghanistan

Nearly three dozen members of the Minnesota National Guard's 133rd Airlift Wing are being deployed for six months. They'll focus on building infrastructure and communication lines.