Shooting Spree by Afghan Pilot at Kabul Airport Kills At Least 9
The shooting spree began at around 10.25 a.m. local time at an Afghan air force base at North Kabul International Airport, apparently after some sort of argument between the gunman and others at the base.
“There was some talking and speaking about something” before fighting began, an Afghan Ministry of Defense official said, adding that more information would be released after an investigation. He had no information about Afghan casualties, nor the status of the gunman.
Lt. Col. David Simons, a spokesman for the NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan, confirmed there had been an incident but provided few other details. “We can confirm that there were casualties and that an Afghan National Army and coalition force quick-reaction force responded,” he said.
A statement from the NATO training mission confirmed that eight coalition service members and one contractor were killed in the shooting, but gave no details of their nationalities. “It is ISAF policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities,” it said.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the group was behind the attack, although Afghan and NATO officials rejected the statement and said there was no indication that the Taliban was involved. The Taliban is known to frequently exaggerate their statements.
“[A Taliban fighter went into] the recruiting department where a meeting was underway between the NATO invaders and the local minions,” Mujahid said. “[He then] opened fire on those participating in the meeting [and] subsequently, nine NATO invaders and including some top-level officers along with five of the local puppets were killed in the firing.”
Mujahid said the gunman, who was identified by some media outlets as a 50-year-old man, was killed during his shooting spree when he ran out of ammunition. “While upon using up his ammo, the brave Mujahid (Muslim fighter) laid down his life when he was shot and martyred in the enemy’s subsequent fire.”
Coalition casualties in Afghanistan have been rising sharply in recent years, with a total coalition death toll of 709 in 2010, making it the deadliest year for international troops since the war began in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.
So far this year, more than 145 coalition service members have been killed in Afghanistan. Most troops are killed in the country’s south, which is plagued by IED attacks on troops and civilians.