Military and Defense

New Video Appears To Undermine Key Conclusion In US Military Investigations Of Kabul Airport Suicide Attack

A video newly obtained by CNN appears to undercut the Pentagon’s assertion there was no sustained gunfire from U.S. troops following the deadly Abbey Gate suicide attack amid the Afghanistan withdrawal, according to the outlet.

The formal inquiry into the attack, and a recently unveiled supplementary review, dismissed U.S. troops’ assertions they returned fire after falling under attack to confusion proceeding from the fog of war or post-blast concussions. However, a half-hour video captured on a U.S. Marine’s GoPro camera seems to show at least 11 bursts of fire for several dozen rounds, far more than the three near-simultaneous volleys totaling 25-30 warning shots fired by both U.S. and United Kingdom forces, as well as two rounds of fire against suspected militants that did not strike anyone, that were recorded in the Pentagon’s investigation, according to CNN.

“It wasn’t onesies and twosies,” one Marine present at the time told CNN on condition of anonymity. “It was a mass volume of gunfire.”

A dozen American troops confirmed they witnessed mass volumes of gunfire to CNN on condition of remaining anonymous. One Marine said he heard the first large burst of fire — an expert told CNN about 17 shots were fired in that first round — from where Marines were standing.

An Afghan doctor, later identified as Dr. Sayeed Ahmadi, previously spoke anonymously about treating civilians with gunshot wounds, CNN reported. The Pentagon said doctors likely confused bullets with ball bearings exploding in all directions from the bomb in the initial suicide blast, but the doctor said damage he and his staff identified was distinct to bullet wounds.

Ahmadi said hospital staff recorded dozens of civilian fatalities from gunshot wounds sustained in the aftermath of the explosion, according to CNN.

The GoPro footage spans several minutes before and after the attack, which took place 5:36 p.m. on August 26, 2021, at Hamid Karzai International Airport’s Abbey Gate, CNN reported. A roughly four-minute segment shows 11 distinct episodes of shooting.

Forensics experts confirmed to CNN that the first burst of fire, taking place about 30 seconds after the explosion, including 17 shots. The remaining 10 bursts include only 2 or 3 rounds each. The video does not show the Marines firing on camera, or whether anyone was hit by the gunfire, rendering the location of the gunmen and possible targets still uncertain, CNN reported.

It does show Marines ducking for cover from the blast and choking on CS gas released from a canister carried by a Marine that burst open likely due to blast impact, according to CNN.

“I got that on film, dude,” one Marine is heard saying, according to CNN. Another voice says seconds later, “They’re breaking through” as Afghan civilians surge toward the airport perimeter walls.

CNN said it described the video in detail to the Pentagon prior to publication. A spokesperson said the Department of Defense (DOD) would need to review “new, previously unseen, video out there” before drawing conclusions.

“The 2021-2022 Abbey Gate Investigation thoroughly investigated the allegations of a complex attack … as well as allegations of outgoing fire from US and coalition forces following the blast,” Army Lt. Col. Rob Lodewick, a spokesperson for the review team, told CNN. “The Supplemental Review found no new evidence of a complex attack, and uncovered no new assertions of outgoing fire post-blast.”

The Pentagon’s supplementary review, released to the public on April 15, did not include reports from Afghan survivors and “did not recommend any modifications” to the findings of the extensive review in November 2021, just months after the Aug. 26, 2021 attack.

The Pentagon did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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