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18 Aug, 2021 17:05

Pentagon admits ‘several fatalities’ after Afghans clung to evacuation plane, says US personnel fired shots for ‘crowd control’

Pentagon admits ‘several fatalities’ after Afghans clung to evacuation plane, says US personnel fired shots for ‘crowd control’

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby has addressed shocking footage showing people clinging to the side of a US military aircraft, attempting to escape Afghanistan amidst a chaotic withdrawal, and confirmed at least “several fatalities.”

During an off-camera press briefing at the Pentagon on Wednesday, Kirby said the “hard number” of fatalities from the incident is not yet known and will be announced later after an investigation into the matter. 

The US Air Force previously announced that human body parts were found in the wheel well of the plane so many were desperate to get on. Though officials are claiming now to have control over Hamid Karzai International Airport, and they are sending out evacuation flights regularly, thousands of military allies and American citizens remain in Afghanistan following the Taliban’s capture of Kabul on Sunday.

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“Clearly we know just by visual evidence and by the Air Force’s statement that there were at least several fatalities involved in that, but I don’t want to get ahead of the Air Force’s review in terms of hard numbers of what the total toll was,” Kirby said on Wednesday, according to CNN.

The Pentagon official offered his “deepest condolences” for the “loved ones and families of those who were killed.”

Kirby admitted to further issues surrounding evacuation flights, saying US personnel fired shots at the border of the airport overnight in an effort to control surrounding crowds. Though the shots were described as “non-lethal,” Kirby appeared to admit that live ammunition was still used when asked if rubber bullets were deployed, as they are typically what the military will turn to as a “non-lethal” option.

“No shots were fired by American troops at Afghans or anybody else. None of these shots that we’re aware of had anything to do with hostile intent or hostile activity, simply used as crowd control,” the official told gathered press. 

There is “no indication” that this shooting led to any injuries or fatalities, according to Kirby. 

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