The entire Afghanistan situation is political and strategic malpractice, and it is curious if the J4 and loggies at CENTCOM/TRANSCOM were ever consulted at all.
Why is the situation in Kabul is so bad? Mainly, a single runway Kabul international airport sits in the middle of a city of 5 million.
Bagram Air Base (which was closed a month ago) sits 25 miles to the north, in an easily defensible area, multiple runways, secure perimeter. There is zero infrastructure to deal with the tens of thousands of refugees rushing Kabul International Airport.
The US left Bagram in the middle of the night. Up and disappeared. That was a voluntary choice, and it means the plan included evacuating tens of thousands out of a single runway airfield in the middle of a city.
The above images show Bagram. It’s surrounded by nothing. Flat ground. Fields. Bagram is an easy base to reinforce and from which to launch both rescue and punitive missions. The image in the upper right tile is Kabul.
Road distance between Charikar and Bagram is 20 km.
Also, if an enemy attacks the airport, they’re going to be attacking from the city. Urban warfare is the worst type of warfare. Incredibly hard to utilize air support, massive collateral damage.
History Note: 200 yrs ago the Poles explained to Napoleon why he should not go straight to Moscow. Ex Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs, who fought with Mujahedin against the Soviets, explained to the Americans why they should keep Bagram.
But who cares about ‘clever’ advice from eastern Europe?