Eyewitnesses who survived Thursday’s attack, which claimed at least 95 lives and left 150 people wounded, told the British public broadcaster that not everyone who died that day had been killed by the suicide bomber.
Mohammed, a taxi driver from London, had traveled to Kabul to help his family secure safe passage out of the Afghan capital. He and his wife were killed in the explosion outside the airport’s Abbey Gate, while two of their children remain missing. His brother and others interviewed by the BBC’s correspondent in Kabul said that their family and relatives weren’t killed in the blast, but by gunfire in the resulting “confusion.”
Mohammed’s brother claimed that the firing came from the direction where US soldiers guarding the airport’s perimeter were stationed.
One Afghan who spoke to the BBC claimed that a civilian who had worked with American forces was shot to death by foreign soldiers in the aftermath of the suicide blast.
“The guy [had] served [the] US army for years. And the reason he lost his life – he wasn’t killed by the Taliban. He wasn’t killed by ISIS,” the man said, adding that the victim was found with a bullet hole in his head with no other injuries.
The Pentagon didn’t comment when contacted by the BBC.
Our report from last night on the awful ISIS attack outside Kabul airport as families still search Kabul’s morgues for their loved ones..
Many we spoke to, including eyewitnesses, said significant numbers of those killed were shot dead by US forces in the panic after the blast pic.twitter.com/ac5nUVeJ4x
— Secunder Kermani (@SecKermani) August 28, 2021
Thursday’s bombing came just days before the US deadline for leaving Afghanistan on August 31. Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attack, which left 13 US service members dead, and more than a dozen others wounded.
On Friday, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said that two British citizens and a child of another British national were killed in the suicide bombing. It was initially believed that the attack involved a second explosion at the nearby Baron Hotel, but the Pentagon later clarified that there was only one blast.
The US Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement released early Saturday morning that the American military had carried out a drone strike targeting an IS-affiliated “planner.” CENTCOM said that “initial indications” showed that the target was killed and that there were no known civilian casualties.
The staggering death toll from Thursday’s bombing has led to renewed criticisms of Washington’s seemingly disorganized and haphazard evacuation efforts, following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in mid-August.
Before the attack, at least a dozen people had already been killed in and around the airport since the Taliban captured Kabul on August 15.
Several victims are believed to have been shot, while others may have died in a stampede.
At least two people allegedly fell to their deaths while trying to cling to the outside of a plane taking off from the airport.
Header: A US soldier stands on guard as Afghans gather on a roadside near the military part of the airport in Kabul on August 20, 2021 © AFP / Wakil Kohsar