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US Troops May Have Accidentally Gunned Down Civilians During Kabul Airport Attack, Eyewitnesses Say

© REUTERS / US MARINESUS Soliders with the 82nd Airborne Division check evacuees during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 25, 2021. Picture taken August 25, 2021
US Soliders with the 82nd Airborne Division check evacuees during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 25, 2021. Picture taken August 25, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 28.08.2021
182 people were killed and more than 1,300 were injured in Thursday’s deadly Daesh-Khorasan* bomb attack on Kabul’s airport. The fatalities included over 100 Afghan civilians, 13 US troops and as many as 28 Taliban fighters. The terrorist incident took place less than a week before all US forces were expected to pull out of Afghanistan for good.
US and Turkish troops may be responsible for the shooting deaths of an unknown number of Afghan civilians who perished at Kabul’s airport on Thursday, eyewitnesses have told a BBC correspondent.
One eyewitness told the broadcaster that his brother and his brother’s wife died in the “confusion” that followed the terrorist suicide bombing outside Abbey Gate, one of the gates leading into the airport.
“Somehow I saw the American soldier and besides this there were Turkish soldiers. So the fire come from the bridges, like the tower…from the soldiers,” the man said, referring to areas, including a canal, which were thought to have been manned by NATO forces guarding the entrance to the airport at the time that the attack took place.
The BBC has indicated that “many” of the people it spoke to implied that “significant numbers” of those who were killed during Thursday’s carnage were shot dead by foreign troops in the panic that followed the blast.
US and Turkish officials have not commented on the BBC’s reporting.
Smoke rises from a deadly explosion outside the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 28.08.2021
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On Friday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan indicated that the Taliban had made a formal request for Turkish forces to run the Kabul airport, but said that Ankara has not made a decision on the matter amid a lack of security guarantees. As of Friday, about 350 of the 500 Turkish troops in Kabul had been evacuated, alongside some 1,400 others, including diplomats from Turkey’s now-shuttered Embassy.
The US deployed additional troops at the Kabul airport earlier this month in the wake of the sudden and unexpected collapse of the Afghan government on 15 August. The troops were deployed to facilitate the accelerated evacuation of US diplomats, American citizens, and Afghans who had assisted the US and NATO forces during their 19+ year occupation of the country.
Thursday’s terrorist incident was the deadliest day for US forces in terms of fatalities and injuries since August 2011, with 18 troops injured in addition to the 13 service members who were killed. The attack was also one of the deadliest in terms of the deaths of Afghan civilians in a single day. Officials in the UK have confirmed that two British citizens and the child of a third British national were among the civilians killed.
The US responded to the attack by launching a drone strike targeting Daesh- Khorasan planners in eastern Afghanistan, with President Joe Biden saying in a televised address Thursday that he had ordered the Pentagon to “hunt down” the militants responsible for the airport attack.
Daesh- Khorasan claimed responsibility for the Kabul airport terrorism, claiming it targeted “the Crusaders and apostates around Kabul Airport” including “American forces, translators and spies cooperating with them.”
FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: U.S. Army soldiers assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division patrol Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan August 17, 2021. Picture taken August 17, 2021.  U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Taylor Crul/Handout via REUTERS  THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. THIS PICTURE WAS PROCESSED BY REUTERS TO ENHANCE QUALITY. AN UNPROCESSED VERSION HAS BEEN PROVIDED SEPARATELY./File Photo/File Photo - Sputnik International, 1920, 28.08.2021
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The terrorist attack was met with broad international condemnation, with the US military and the Taliban engaging in unprecedented cooperation, including intelligence sharing, in the aftermath of the incident.
Notwithstanding the airport attack, which caused temporary delays in evacuations, US officials remain hopeful that the pullout will be completed by the earlier announced 31 August deadline as planned.
* Terrorist groups outlawed in Russia and many other countries.
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