Media Bury Story That US May Have Fired on Crowd at Airport

Western media appear to be downplaying a possible major development in the Kabul airport attack, writes Joe Lauria.

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News

It appears in the 29th paragraph of a 39-paragraph New York Times story on Saturday about the aftermath of the suicide bombing at Kabul airport last week that killed more than 180 people, including 13 U.S. military personnel:

“For the first time, Pentagon officials publicly acknowledged the possibility that some people killed outside the airport on Thursday might have been shot by American service members after the suicide bombing.

Investigators are looking into whether the gunfire came from Americans at the gate, or from the Islamic State.”

A Pentagon official was asked at a briefing on Saturday about whether U.S. soldiers were involved in shooting at the crowd and he neither confirmed nor denied the story.

The Washington Post has so far made no mention of the possible U.S. shooting. In an article on Saturday on the names of the U.S. troops killed, it merely says the attack is being investigated. It links to a Pentagon press release that contains this single line: “The incident is under investigation.” 

CNN’s only reference so far to shooting at the airport is this: “Speaking Thursday to CNN’s Anderson Cooper, journalist and author Matthieu Aikins said he could hear ‘shooting and sirens’ from the airport less than an hour after the attack.”

A BBC report on Saturday said: “According to one account, one attacker fired into a crowd of people, although reports also said Taliban guards had fired into the air.” There is no reference to possible U.S. involvement in the shooting. 

However, BBC reporter Secunder Kermani in Kabul, in a video report on Friday, interviewed an eyewitness who said he saw U.S. and Turkish military men firing from a tower into the crowd. The text accompanying the video on the BBC site makes no mention of possible U.S. involvement. But Kermani pointed it out in this tweet on his personal account.

According to this unverified video, a man claiming to be an Afghan solider blames the U.S. for shooting at the crowd from above.  He says only 20 people were killed by the bomb and the rest by American bullets.

If the story of U.S. soldiers firing into the crowd after the suicide bombing is true, it would be a major development that deserves prominent media attention. Western news organizations with reporters on the ground have been publishing highly detailed accounts of events at the airport for days. 

There are survivors of the attack, some of whom surely would have witnessed shooting into the crowd, such as the witness in the BBC report. They have a story to tell. And Western media have a job to do. 

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former UN correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and numerous other newspapers. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London and began his professional work as a stringer for The New York Times.  He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @unjoe  



31 comments for “Media Bury Story That US May Have Fired on Crowd at Airport

  1. Charlotte Ruse
    August 31, 2021 at 10:02

    “Project psychopathic PNAC” began with tragedy and ended in tragedy for the usual victims young servicemen and Afghan fleeing a chaotic mess.

    One thing is certain, the US “political duopoly” will never call for an investigation into Afghan warprofiteeting or what happed to $40 trillion missing US tax dollars unaccountable by the Pentagon.

  2. Colin Smith
    August 31, 2021 at 03:41

    I thought that nearly 200 killed and injured was high for a suicide bombing. People packed together would limit the blast, not increase it. Those nearby would absorb the blast and limit it, being shredded in the process. Why did the US pull out one day early? I understand the deadline was midnight August 31st. It may be to get the soldiers that opened fire from the guard tower out of the country. If it is proven that the soldiers began firing into the crowd in the hysteria and panic following the suicide explosion, then all hell will break loose. One witness said the suicide bombing killed around 20, not 100, which would be about right. That’s assuming the crowd was packed around the bomber.

  3. August 30, 2021 at 19:35

    Very good

  4. August 30, 2021 at 13:29

    For the first time in 20 years the Media and Political Whores are using Dover Air Force Base Again to parade the coffins of veterans as a propaganda tool for America’s Corporate Foreign Policy.
    W forbade the media from filming the dead vets coming into Dover and the media complied. God Forbid the Vacuous American public view all our dead vets and possibly question WHY?
    America is a rootless tree.

  5. August 30, 2021 at 11:56

    Vengeance is mine sayeth … hmmm, well, Joe Biden. But the errors involved are not “news deemed fit to print” by most of the corporate media nor is the fact that retaliatory drone strikes murdered innocent civilians, including children, a war crime. Hypocrisy uber alles is the rule where the Deep State is involved and no one is more of a lifetime Deep State tool than Joseph Biden.

  6. Vera Gottlieb
    August 30, 2021 at 10:52

    It would not be the first time that the media helps the US government to hide, not just downplay, any humanitarian disasters. Remember MyLai?

  7. JP McEvoy
    August 30, 2021 at 09:06

    Witnesses and bullet wounds in the body of the victims.
    This story is going to have legs… Maybe we’ll send the families some goats.

  8. Ian
    August 30, 2021 at 00:20

    Conspicuous media blackout on this. They also seemed pretty reluctant to report that retaliatory drone strike killed mostly children and no ISIS. Way to follow one massacre of civilians, with another.

  9. Em
    August 29, 2021 at 20:10

    How odd!
    Why is everyone acting so surprised at the New York Times’ reporting about American deaths under friendly fire?
    As one random example; how often did it occur in Vietnam?
    How many previous times in all of Americas perpetual military whoring have the media had to bend this sickening truth, in order to protect the national security states sensitivities about its paranoid insecurity behavior?
    American military personnel have been killed by friendly fire, in ‘battle’, too numerous times to mention all the dates and places, going back to WW II.
    This is but one more occasion that the American public will be forced to swallow hard about being deceived.
    Unlike the supposedly sovereign states ‘America’ unilaterally selects as its enemies, who on principles attempt to stand up and defend themselves against this tyranny, the American publics principles, when it comes to their own governance, obviously are more easily influenced.
    We perpetually forgive ‘our’ government for deceiving us, while we never, as a country, show compassion for the enemies that have been concocted – to instill fear, by the perpetual narrative fed to us as fodder.

  10. John Ressler
    August 29, 2021 at 17:29

    Ah, War and all of the wonderful things it brings (for those invested in arms sales – the military industrial complex and our very own government). None of the ugly details of this story should surprise us. Will we ever learn ? Haven’t seen a shred of that dream in my 67-years. And those who warn us against war are still completely ignored in the lead-up to it. All of this is heart-breaking.

  11. ToivoS
    August 29, 2021 at 15:33

    As a consumer of news for the last two decades it has been clear that the number of fatalities from a blast from a suicide vest bomb, even in a crowd, can result in the deaths of 10s or 20s victims. When this death toll came it made no sense. In early reports it was claimed that a second car bomb was detonated next to the hotel. Now that could have accounted for the number of casualties. However, that was soon retracted.

    It does seem most likely right now that a bunch of trigger happy US soldiers simply opened fire on the crowds that had gathered in front of those gates. Probably a bunch of green recruits since it is unlikely that the military would risk any battle hardened veterans who had the experience to understand what had just happened.

  12. robert e williamson jr
    August 29, 2021 at 14:30

    Yep! It’s me again already.

    I am seething at this moment. Never to much to be at a loss for words though.

    I just returned from getting a cup of coffee, while in the process my senses where attacked by a site that left me with hair on my body standing on end and almost breathless from shock!

    There for anyone who wished CNN had coverage of those dead Marines caskets being unloaded.

    After 20 years of no coverage. Once again CNN prostitutes itself for it’s government pimp!

    Dog Damn the government propaganda “Pusher ” , to paraphrase a 1968 song by John Kay and Steppenwolf, “The Pusher”.

    CNN parallels the likes of low-life Joe McCarthy for they have proven they have no sense of decency, and haven’t for at least the last 20 years.

  13. Jeff Harrison
    August 29, 2021 at 13:26

    We both know that the MSM won’t touch this story until it’s overwhelmed with stuff from the likes of Consortium News, Mint Press, the Grey Zone, the Scrum, etc etc. The only thing that bothers me is that a lot of this is eye witness stuff. There’s nothing more unreliable than eye witness claims (which by no means makes them false).

    • Cjyw
      August 29, 2021 at 22:23

      I don’t know, it’s a very binary event- were the soldiers shooting or were the not? One person brain clouded by a massive bomb going off, ok. But several people? If indeed the blast completely halted everybody’s ability to make an objective decision, it should fall 50/50. But if 95% of witnesses said they fired, I’d definitely go with that.

    • Piotr Berman
      August 30, 2021 at 02:07

      ” There’s nothing more unreliable than eye witness claims (which by no means makes them false).”

      Well, there are also official statements of the military. Stiff competition, but the prize goes to the professionals.

      Perhaps some forensic data from the morgues will come.

  14. robert e williamson jr
    August 29, 2021 at 13:04

    Ugliness at it’s evil best.

    Murphy was a grunt and he had a list of rules,” Murphy’s Law”.

    I’m not sure which rule this was but according to Murphy, “the harder you make it for the enemy to get in the harder it is for you to get out.” Especially when you have no plan to escape.

    Another example here of what happens after the “big wigs” make one colossal mistake after another.

    When you sign up for trouble most times that is exactly what you get.

    I thought shooting into crowds was something the bad guys excelled in. So what happened?

    The U.S. government with the encouragement of millions of Americans allowed American troops to be forced into one bad position the next being even worse. Even worse the government has been at it for 20 years.

    Vietnam had no, to reuse a phrase the media has neglected for years now, “exit plan” and neither did this last human induced conflagration on the local populace.

    Another of a too long list of sorrows of empire, will we never learn.

    Like is tough, it’s even tougher if you are stupid. Ain’t that right “Shrub”!

    • vinnieoh
      August 29, 2021 at 14:30

      Murphy of “Murphy’s Laws” was not a grunt but rather a lieutenant or captain in the US Air Force or the US Navy. None of his “laws” had anything to do with military matters or warfare but dealt strictly with the practical matters of engineering. That was of eminent importance to him since it was he that was tasked with performing the early tests of g-forces on the human body. If you’ve ever seen the old photos of the man on the rocket sled, that is Murphy. He had a very vested interest in identifying and correcting sources of error and breakdown, since his very life might depend on it. Wikipedia probably has an entry on him. “Skeptical Inquirer” magazine did a spread on him some years ago, his accomplishments, and the complete listing of all his “laws.”

      A “grunt” is a reference to a low-ranking – usually enlisted or conscripted – soldier, not an officer, and certainly not an officer that was educated in engineering, probably beyond the confines of a military academy.

      • robert e williamson jr
        August 29, 2021 at 16:37

        You got a different Murphy, sorry to inconvenience in you in your loft perch of assuming superiority, but Sargent Bill Hieser I served under schooled me in the “Grunt” Murphy and his laws.

        Thanks CN

      • robert e williamson jr
        August 30, 2021 at 13:43

        I apologize again for . I made a mistake and misstated my reference. I knew something didn’t seem right!

        Murphys Laws are one thing, whether he was a lieutenant or a Captain, who served in the Air Force or Navy ?
        Murphy’s Rules of Combat are something distinctly different. By the way I’m sure there are plenty of lieutenants captains and colonels that served in the infantry of the US Army or the Marine Corp. that would likely set you straight on your education reference.

        But my bad just the same. So again sorry if I assaulted or insulted any of you sensibilities !

        Thanks CN

        • vinnieoh
          August 30, 2021 at 15:28

          I’m the one that should apologize. I could have said what I meant to say without the snide or condescending tone you correctly sensed. I am not aware of the Murphy you alluded to, and only was aware of the Officer Murphy who is credited with the widely know “Murphy’s Laws.” You are also correct that there are many junior officers that had to do the dirty and deadly work of fighting elbow to elbow with enlistees and conscripts. I sincerely apologize for a poorly composed and unwarranted reply. Apparently the moderator of this forum let me hang by the rope I myself supplied.

          I’ll have to admit though that there was another itch that I was trying to scratch, and again this is nothing personal against you in particular; your post was simply at the top of the stack. Specifically, many comments to stories of the US’ ongoing malfeasance that seem to be endless virtue signaling rants. It is the reason I’ve mostly stopped commenting because I felt that was ALL that MY comments had become. And to what end or positive effect? None, not even as a release valve. CN, at its best and in its wheelhouse provides the valuable service of investigative reporting, and at its very best on those subjects that the msm will never touch. Their specialty and their mission is not to brainstorm solutions, or to marshal support for action or organization. Quite possibly some CN contributors and staff are involved in such efforts, but this site’s best efforts are wrt investigating abuse of power and abuse of trust and hope.

          Again Mr. Williamson, my sincere apology. I regretted it as soon as I posted it, and deserved to be called for poor taste and bad manners.

          • robert e williamson jr
            August 30, 2021 at 21:02

            I can agree with your virtue signaling comment. I do however think most who post here are fed up and “get it”. That does no not mean that for many of us this continued insanity by our government dose not wear us down.

            I do try to clean up the messes I make, especially when I screw up such as this.

            As for your comments about CN I got you five by five. It is encouraging to see that many care en0ugh to put the thoughts down on the pages.

            You sound as though you are a reasonable human being, nice to make contact with you. Stay safe.

            Thanks CN

      August 29, 2021 at 16:38

      Life has never been tough for “Shrub”. Every step of the way was paved with corruption for him. He belongs in prison as a war criminal, along with Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rice, and everyone else, Rethug or Dem, who supported and prolonged these endless wars for empire.

  15. DW Bartoo
    August 29, 2021 at 11:07

    As has been blatantly obvious for decades, the U$ M$M do not provide the public with useful information.

    Its task is narrative control, which simply means projecting official propaganda or simply ignoring critically important information, to the extent that “journalists” are “trained”, if by no other means than “career advancement”, to run away from anything that might run counter to the official “line”.

    It is being suggested that U$ troops deployed to the Kabul airport were not “seasoned” troops, but rather primarily consisted of raw recruits who might easily (and conveniently?) panic and react without restraint.

    That a M$M “journalist” supposedly claimed that the troops “… returned fire after the explosion, implies a total lack of understanding. Firing AT an explosion is neither rational nor effective, even if such is “standard procedure”.

    Let it be dismissed as “unintentional incompetence”, as we will be advised to “look forward, not back”.

    It is interesting, Joe, that CNN’s Anderson Cooper is making that network’s only reference to the shooting.

    Anderso Cooper (Vanderbilt heir) aired the several week’s old interview by CNN’s Clarissa Ward of a “senior ISIS-K commander” who told Ward that ISIS-K was “laying low and waiting for its moment to strike.

    Recall, just for the sake of perspective, that Anderson Cooper spent two summers as a CIA intern while a student at Yale.

    Speculation at certain well-informed sites, suggest that things may not be as we are told – or not told.

    • August 29, 2021 at 13:52

      Well, speculation is one thing. Proof is another.
      What is proof?
      Proof gets as close to truth when the evidence is overwhelming.
      That moment has arrived and I pray for those in the outlying lands feeling Ida’s justified frustration with the foolish humans who treat Mother Nature with no respect.
      Follow the path of the bullets and many long hidden truths emerge.

      • DW Bartoo
        August 29, 2021 at 16:24

        As you pointed out, earlier, B_K,
        there are bodies of evidence which rational and reasonable people would consider ought be examined.

        Yet, if bodies fall and no one knows, as the media won’t tell them, does it make any noise?

        • August 29, 2021 at 19:38

          Yes. When the body falls noise occurs.
          yes – seriously.
          We know.
          Honestly, there are those of us out here who know what direction the bullet came from.
          One Kennedy and then another. Bullet confusion.
          So maybe this moment could be one of the few moments left to start digging into the truth.
          Because you can’t deny, no matter how close to death you might be, the moments are diminishing and eventually
          there won’t be another moment to have the chance to tell the truth. So why not now.
          We know already anyhow, so what is there to lose you old-timers.
          Make yourselves useful if you can. We need you.
          No matter – the truth will be revealed.
          One way or the other.
          I’m glad and I hope you know as well, and why not now to tell everyone what you know. Live out your last years knowing you were a champion for truth. It is really isn’t even hard to do. It is easy – just like peace.
          Here – let me get you some tea.

          • DW Bartoo
            August 30, 2021 at 08:19

            Well said.

  16. August 29, 2021 at 10:31

    I read elsewhere that many of the bullet penetrations (particularly those to the skull) evidently came from above and then passed down. This is not difficult to deduce correctly – that being the path of the bullet.
    This conjecture may be correct and it may not, but I suspect it may be.
    The saddest thing about it all is it just increases the tragic ending
    Of a “war” that was based on NOTHING besides profits
    in the hands of a few.
    So glad it is
    Obviously, there will be consequences, but we all ought know, the truth rarely gets published these days in the
    main stream…….media. Got to go off to the side, or find alternative places, to get the news – and you have to look at many sources if your desire is accuracy. Plus it helps to study. Serious business is what it all is.
    Thanks for this article. That is why I keep coming back to this place.

  17. michael888
    August 29, 2021 at 08:27

    State media has a job to do, unfortunately it’s to further the actions of the State (the CIA, the military, etc) not to explain to the populace what really happened.

    • evelync
      August 30, 2021 at 10:31

      we’re a rogue state – out of control and dangerous – we’re its victims too
      re: “State media” “further[ing] the actions of the State (the CIA, the military, etc)” – but not serving the general public – we’re the enemy too

      We’re threatened for revealing wrongdoing; our tax dollars misdirected away from responsible public policy to for profit wars

  18. Zhu
    August 29, 2021 at 08:21

    Of course the media avoid saying US troops shot a bunch of people. Media consumers want flattery.

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