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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

US forces firing killed US contractors at Kabul airport or was it stampede?

International media report that US forces fired in the air to stop mobs rushing towards planes at Kabul airport. Others claim on twitter that US forces fired directly on the crowds in panic. Eight people are dead and media in the region await US explanation.

US Forces fired on the mobs at Kabul airport killing five civilians. Twitter and regional media are awash with the story. Even Russian news site Sputnik has apparently tweeted this. Images are circulating on Twitter and WhatsApp creating shock.

News is being widley believed despite international media and many others on the twitter claiming that US forces merely did aerial firing to control mobs that were rushing to board the planes – and the deaths may have been caused due to stampede. Situation is far from clear and media are looking for US briefing on the subject.

There is a huge panic in Kabul after Taliban entry into the city on Aug 15. Earlier it was expected that though Taliban had surrounded the city from three directions but they will not enter till the end of August when US forces were supposed to complete their withdrawal. However it is believed, by some sources that spoke to GVS, that arrival of two thousand fresh US troops during the night of Aug 14th prompted Taliban entry into the city. US had explained that additional two thousand troops were sent to secure the evacuation of embassy and other staff.

Desperate scenes at Kabul Airport as Afghans seek to flee country-GVS

Taliban had successfully entered Kabul on August 15th, and though they had repeatedly announced general amnesty for all citizens and foreign missions yet there was huge panic leading to sciences of chaos. Thousands of people fleeing from other cities have also taken refuge in Kabul swelling the city’s population of five million. President Ashraf Ghani who had earlier vowed not to surrender had quickly decided to leave after news of Taliban entering the city became clear. He has tweeted, from an undisclosed location, claiming that he left to save the city from a massacre. Afghan media reports that he is now in Tajikistan.

Kabul’s Sudden Fall to Taliban Ends U.S. Era in Afghanistan. – New York Times

Reportedly there are more than 5000 US contractors of Afghan origins who want to board planes at Kabul International airport to leave the country. There are also reports, though unconfirmed that Taliban have fired on mobs around airport. How five people have died is not clear. Media are looking towards US officials to clarify.

While there is no official clarification from the US sources as to what happened at the Kabul airport, many on twitter are explaining that deaths happened due to rush and stampede. Some sources claimed that US forces had to fire to stop the rushing crowds because planes couldn’t take off and land amidst that chaos. There is lot of fear among those few thousand Afghans who had been working as the US contractors. They think that Taliban, despite initial assurances, might treat them as American partisans and harm them.

Taliban have created history in taking over whole of Afghanistan in two weeks and mostly without bloodshed and fighting. Afghan National Army quickly collapsed and local jirgas and communities voluntarily surrendered cities and towns to advancing Taliban. Most Taliban leadership is based in Doha, Qatar. Mullah Baradar, long time ally of Mullah Omar, founder of the Taliban movement in 1994, has been nominated as new Emir of Afghanistan.


In western terms he will be the all powerful president, but Taliban prefer to call their government at the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. Many western commentators think that the term came into existence with the first Taliban government in 1997, but it was an old term and the Afghan governments in 19th century always used the word Islamic in their name. All earlier talk of an interim set up or transitional government has apparently died down. This is a continuing story. 

International Desk filed with additional input from the GVS News Desk.