Media Gives Cover to US Troops’ Slaughter of Afghans Fleeing Taliban

Alex Rubinstein

As the United States departs from the country it occupied for 20 years it leaves on a note just as savage as some of the worst moments of the war.

The United States and its fallen puppet government in Kabul have committed crimes on par with anything the Taliban has ever done. The US has bombed hospitals, dropped the biggest bomb ever since Hiroshima and Nagasaki, supported death squads, and in some months killed more civilians than the Taliban. There were some months where the US and the Afghan military it trained and equipped killed more civilians than the Taliban. That’s according to the United Nations. And since the Taliban itself were an offshoot of the CIA-sponsored Mujahedeen, it’s not difficult to also lay partial blame for the group’s atrocities on the US.

As I reported here a few months ago, since then-Vice President Joe Biden’s promise in 2011 that the United States would be leaving Afghanistan in 2014, the US dropped more than 25,000 bombs on the country.

Last year, what was supposed to be a US drone attack on a Taliban splinter group killed 60 civilians.

The absurdly corrupt fallen puppet government of Afghanistan is no better, in 2019 killing 40 civilians at a wedding.

These kinds of mass casualty attacks — terrorist attacks — barely got a mention in the mainstream media, which has mostly ignored Afghanistan entirely for about a decade.

Now, with the government effectively destroyed in what may be the quickest collapse of a state ever, the United States has left the country with a reminder for Afghans of who they really are, and US imperial stenographers are doing their best to cover up their crimes.

Ali Hashem, a reporter for Al-Jazeera, an outlet run by the Qatari monarchy which also hosted the negotiations with the Taliban that culminated in the US withdrawal, appears to be the first to share video of Afghan civilians gunned down at the airport in Kabul by US forces.

“Apparently there are casualties at Kabul international after US troops fired shots on desperate crowds who sought to flee the country on the last flights,” he wrote on Twitter.

Astute readers will notice his slick use of the passive voice. “Casualties at Kabul international after US troops fired shots” is a rather obtuse way of saying US troops gunned down fleeing civilians.

The framing of the sentence, if interpreted literally, doesn’t tell us who shot these “casualties” (which, by the way, can merely mean people were injured). In fact, it doesn’t even tell us that they were even shot. One could read that sentence and just as easily conclude that maybe US troops fired shots at the Taliban and the Taliban then killed civilians, or civilians killed each other in a stampede.

None of that happened though. US troops murdered fleeing civilians.

The Wall Street Journal was quick to publish an article on the slaughter but unsurprisingly also provided rhetorical cover for it.

“At least three people were killed by gunfire,” their lead paragraph reads. Whose gunfire? We don’t know. The only other proper nouns in the paragraph are the location (Kabul’s airport), the Afghan civilians who are fleeing, and the Taliban who they are fleeing from.

If we skip over the following paragraph, we get our first mention of US forces, who WSJ notes have “taken over security of the Kabul airport.”

Apparently out of fear that their readers could be connecting the dots, WSJ notes in the following paragraph that in a separate incident, “American troops also repeatedly shot in the air to disperse the crowds.”

Nowhere in the article does the outlet report that US troops killed civilians; despite video easily accessible on the web showing US troops firing on civilians.

While media elites, think tankers and politicians publicly lament the plight of Afghan civilians under Taliban rule, this incident is a clear-cut reminder of just how little regard the US actually has for civilians fleeing Taliban rule, or Afghan civilians generally.

Just what a disaster all of this was was impossible to know for sure. However, if you have followed my recent reporting on Afghanistan, where I revealed the leader of negotiations for the Biden Administration with the Taliban to previously have served as the Taliban’s top hypeman in DC, you may have guessed that this was pretty much doomed from the start.

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