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Report: US airmen gunned down in Kabul Airport had no chance to fight back

WASHINGTON — Eight U.S. airmen and a contractor gunned down in 2011 by an Afghan officer at the Kabul Airport didn’t die because of a lack of fighting spirit, the final Air Force investigation of the matter has concluded.

Additionally, an earlier Air Force report’s conclusion that the gunman, Col. Ahmed Gul, had killed himself was incorrect, the report stated.

The investigation, finished in May 2013, was first reported on by the Air Force Times, which obtained it Wednesday through a Freedom of Information Act Request.

The 2011 attack inside a training facility for the Afghan air force was the deadliest insider attack of the war. The rampage inside a supposedly secure facility helped focus intense attention on the challenges of keeping U.S. and allied troops safe as they worked closely with Afghan troops as advisors.

A 2011 investigation concluded Gul committed suicide after murdering his nine victims. But the new report says he was killed by Afghan security forces, the Air Force Times reported.

“The evidence and witness statements indicate Col. Gul was most likely killed by the Afghan Quick Reaction Force,” the final investigation stated.

The report also contradicts earlier suggestions that victims failed to fight back. Because of the way the attack played out, they had no chance to return fire, the investigator wrote.

“Secondly, I find that the evidence does not indicate that a ‘lack of warrior ethos’ accounts for why the eight American victims did not touch their weapons in response to Col. Gul opening fire,” the report said.

There’s no evidence that other Afghans present when Gul went on his rampage were involved, the report stated.

The investigation was ordered last year in response to unanswered questions stemming from the original investigation, as well as questions from Congress and the victims’ families, the newspaper reported.

news@stripes.com

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