A C-17 attempts to take off from Kabul while surrounded by a crowd of Afghans. Screenshot from Twitter video.
The Department of Defense confirmed that US troops killed two gunmen who opened fire Monday, Aug. 16, at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. Pentagon press secretary John Kirby also told reporters that one American service member may have been wounded during the attack.
The situation at the airport remained chaotic Monday as US officials briefly stopped all military flights in and out of the airport until US troops could stabilize the facility. Multiple reports in recent hours indicate flights have resumed and evacuation efforts are again underway.
According to a joint statement from the DOD and the Department of State, US forces will focus on air traffic control and airport security efforts.
Videos strewn about social media showed — usually without context — crowds of people surging toward military and civilian airplanes. Several videos appear to show at least two people falling to their deaths after clinging to a C-17 cargo plane during takeoff.
Others capture what sounds like gunshots, which Kirby confirmed could have been fired by — or at — US troops.
According to the Pentagon, US forces returned fire after two individuals attacked Americans at the airport. It’s unclear whether the two gunmen were Taliban fighters.
The US is expanding its presence on the ground, with an announced commitment of 6,000 total troops in the next two days.
Seven people have been killed since the Hamid Karzai airport became the hub of a massive evacuation effort amid the Afghanistan government’s collapse, according to The Associated Press, which cited unnamed US officials.
Dustin Jones is a former senior staff writer for Coffee or Die Magazine covering military and intelligence news. Jones served four years in the Marine Corps with tours to Iraq and Afghanistan. He studied journalism at the University of Colorado and Columbia University. He has worked as a reporter in Southwest Montana and at NPR. A New Hampshire native, Dustin currently resides in Southern California.
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