The Pentagon’s investigation into the Aug. 2021 suicide bombing outside of an airport in Kabul, Afghanistan have come under scrutiny as families of U.S. soldiers slain in the attack begin to question the investigation’s findings.
Kabul airport attack: Families of slain U.S. troops question whether Pentagon distorted investigation findings – The Washington Post
— James Gordon Meek (@meekwire) February 19, 2022
President Joe Biden’s hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan was marked by a single suicide bombing that killed 13 U.S. troops and 170 Afghanistan civilians, according to a 2,000 page report obtained by the Washington Post. While the report sheds new light onto the bombing, families of some of the slain U.S. service members have begun to question some of the report’s findings, according to the Washington Post.
“The investigation found that a single explosive device killed at least 170 Afghan civilians and 13 U.S. servicemembers by explosively directing ball bearings through a packed crowd and into our men and women at Abbey Gate,” General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. said at a press briefing on Feb. 4. (RELATED: ‘The Country Has Never Seen Stupidity Like This’: Trump Slams Biden Administration On Afghanistan Withdrawal)
Additionally, Marine Col. C.J. Douglas stated at the press briefing that “there is no proof that any U.S. or Afghan person was injured or killed by gunfire,” and that any “initial belief” that the attack was more than a bombing was due to “fog of war and disorientation due to blast effects.”
However, soldiers at the airport provided accounts that painted a more complex picture of the attack, according to the Washington Post. Witness statements from marines pointed out that there was a firefight with soldiers receiving and returning fire, the outlet reported.
An unnamed marine noted that the sound of “snaps and cracks of rounds” were “all around him,” and that he saw people apparently injured by gunshots, according to the Washington Post.
Another unnamed marine noted that he observed “a lot of Marines shooting by the Jersey barrier,” according to the Washington Post. The marine also said that he “started firing [his] weapons as well,” although he was unsure of what he was shooting at, the outlet reported.
“I talked to one kid personally, face-to-face at my son’s burial,” said Shana Chappell, the mother of Kareem Nikoui, a marine who was slain in the attack, the Washington Post reported. “That’s how I found out about gunfire. He showed me his scar and told me had been shot.”
Meanwhile, Mark Schmitz, the father of a soldier killed in the attack, noted that there were “MAJOR conflicting reports,” according to the Washington Post. When Schmitz asked for the metal fragments discovered in his son for private analysis, officials said they had been discarded, the Washington Post reported.
The report showed that both the White House and State Department drastically underestimated the speed at which the Taliban took control over Afghanistan. The report also showed that decisions made by top military brass put American troops in the area at greater risk.