U.S. troops fired crowd-control shots at Kabul airport, Pentagon says


Shafaq News / U.S. troops guarding the evacuation effort from Afghanistan at Kabul airport fired some shots in the air overnight to control crowds, but there were no indications of casualties or injuries, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on Wednesday.

Kirby told a news briefing that no shots were fired by American troops at Afghans or anybody else. Kirby said the number of U.S. troops at Kabul's international airport reached about 4,500 on Wednesday and several hundred more were expected over the next 24 hours.

"Some shots were fired, largely around the gate areas. And it's our understanding that at least some of these ... were fired by U.S. personnel on the airport side of the perimeter as crowd-control measures, as non-lethal warnings," Kirby said.

A Taliban official said separately Taliban commanders and fighters were firing into the air on Wednesday to disperse crowds at the Kabul airport.

"We have no intention to injure anyone," the official told Reuters.

Chaos has continued outside the airport, the official said, blaming Western forces for a "chaotic evacuation plan" from Afghanistan.

At least three people were killed in anti-Taliban protests in the Afghan city of Jalalabad on Wednesday, witnesses said, as the militant group moved to set up a government following the collapse of the U.S.-backed government and military and Western countries stepped up evacuations of diplomats and civilians.

Kirby said U.S. officials were in touch with the Taliban to try to speed the evacuation process.

"We're not unaware that there have been issues out in town and harassment of individuals," he said. "We're in communication with the Taliban; we want to see this process go more smoothly. We certainly want it to go faster and with more capacity."

Kirby said U.S C-17 transport aircraft had evacuated about 2,000 people from Kabul in the past 24 hours including 325 U.S. citizens, and some NATO personnel. He said the scheduled number of evacuations in the coming 24 hours would be similar.

Kirby said U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley will brief the media on developments in Afghanistan at 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT).

A White House official said Austin and Milley were briefing President Joe Biden on Afghanistan at the White House on Wednesday. 

Source: Reuters

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