Panicked US soldiers shot dead many civilians after airport blasts, claim new report
As many as 13 US service members were killed on Thursday, August 26, when two explosions rocked an area outside Kabul's Hamid Karzai International airport. But US servicemen were not the only ones who suffered. At least 95 Afghans were killed — some reports now say 175 people were killed, at least — and more than 100 were wounded in the blasts, according to reports.
Now, eyewitnesses are claiming that of the many who died in the chaos that ensued after the blasts, some were shot by US soldiers. Secunder Kermani, the BBC’s correspondent for Pakistan and Afghanistan, shared a video report about the same.
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Kermani wrote, “Our report from last night on the awful ISIS attack outside Kabul airport as families still search Kabul's morgues for their loved ones. Many we spoke to, including eyewitnesses, said significant numbers of those killed were shot dead by US forces in the panic after the blast.”
Nabih Bulos, the Middle East bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times, also tweeted, “Spoke to a doctor at one of #Kabul's hospitals who also said quite a few bodies had gunshot wounds. Overwatch would probably provide some info on this. If it were ever released.”
Our report from last night on the awful ISIS attack outside Kabul airport as families still search Kabul's morgues for their loved ones..— Secunder Kermani (@SecKermani) August 28, 2021
Many we spoke to, including eyewitnesses, said significant numbers of those killed were shot dead by US forces in the panic after the blast pic.twitter.com/ac5nUVeJ4x
Spoke to a doctor at one of #Kabul's hospitals who also said quite a few bodies had gunshot wounds. Overwatch would probably provide some info on this. If it were ever released. https://t.co/zaxIwkc8u5— Nabih (@nabihbulos) August 28, 2021
In Kermani’s video report, locals claimed that many of their family members were not killed in the blast but in firing by the U.S. forces. A London-based taxi driver named Mohammed Niazi and his wife were both killed. Niazi had reportedly traveled to Kabul to ensure the evacuation of his family in the aftermath of the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan. His two children have been missing ever since the airport attack. His brother told Kermani, “Somehow I saw American soldier and a Turkish soldier. The fire came from the bridges and towers… from the soldiers.”
Nouma Hamid, who was reportedly employed with the US, was killed in firing by the country’s security forces. “The guy has served the US army for years and (this is) the reason why he lost his life. He wasn’t killed by the Taliban or ISIS. The US army started shelling,” an acquaintance told Kermani, as he held Hamid’s ID card. When Kermani enquired how he was sure of this claim, the person said, “(This is) because of the bullet. It went inside of his head near the ear. (Except that), he did not have any injury.” Hamid is now survived by eight children. The US Department of Defence has not commented on the issue, the BBC reported.
In the aftermath of the blasts, President Joe Biden promised retribution. “We will hunt you down and make you pay. I will defend our interests and our people with every measure at my command,” Biden said in the White House speech, calling those military members who died “heroes who’ve been engaged in a dangerous, selfless mission to save the lives of others.”
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on Friday, August 27, that the US believed there were still “specific, credible” threats against the airport. Marine General Kenneth ‘Frank’ McKenzie, chief of US Central Command, said at a news briefing that the risk of an attack from the Islamic State persists alongside other threats.