Purpose of Buffers in this Circuit

The schematic below is an H-bridge , the high and low mosfets are internal to the two ICs on the right side, their datasheet is here. What is the purpose of the part on the left, which I googled to be a buffer IC, datasheet here. Is it for the sake of circuit protection? My understanding of using a buffer is limited, I have always assumed they where used in cases where something could not source enough current to drive something else, so you use a buffer with higher current sourcing capability. Is this correct and is this the case here?

• I thought I saw $I_\text{OH}=-8\:\text{mA}$ and $I_\text{OL}=8\:\text{mA}$ when $V_\text{CC}=5\:\text{V}$. Where'd you see the "24" figure, exactly? By the way, that H-bridge input specs are way down the sheet at 4.4.6 and require only microamps. Nowhere near the drive compliance of the AHC244. But I agree that since we don't know what's at the header... it's a safe way to be. (Though those $1\:\text{k}\Omega$ pull-downs on the inputs of the AHC244 are pretty heavy loads already, so perhaps I'm not sure what's gained.) – jonk Oct 26 '18 at 3:21