Multiple military reviews have revealed that a cargo plane crew acted appropriately and broke no rules during a fatal incident during the US’ chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan last year, a the Air Force announced on Monday.
On August 16, an Air Force C-17 landed at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, bringing supplies to help evacuate civilians when it was overrun by hundreds of Afghans who had crossed the perimeter of the airport, military officials said.
“Faced with a rapidly deteriorating security situation around the aircraft, the C-17 crew decided to depart the airfield as quickly as possible,” an Air Force statement said. the following day.
Heartbreaking video from the scene showed a large crowd surrounding the moving plane – some clinging on as it took off and others falling through the air.
Upon landing at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, human remains were found in the aircraft’s wheel well. The plane was temporarily impounded to allow time to inspect it and recover the remains.
Among the dead, according to local authorities, was teenage footballer Zaki Anwari. The General Directorate of Physical Education and Sports said in a statement on Facebook at the time that he had fallen to his death.
“He was kind and patient, but like many of our young people, he saw the arrival of the Taliban as the end of his dreams and his sporting opportunities,” an agency spokesperson told The New York Times at the time. .
On Monday, the Air Force announced that reviews conducted by the Judge Advocate Offices of U.S. Central Command and Air Mobility Command agreed that the crew “was in compliance with applicable rules of engagement. specific to the event and to the general law of armed conflict”.
The operational management of the crew also reviewed the mission and found that they had “acted appropriately and exercised good judgment” in getting the plane off the ground as quickly as possible given the situation, according to the gate. -Air Force spokesperson Ann Stefanek.
“The airmanship and quick wits of the crew ensured the safety of the crew and their planes,” she said.
Stefanek also recognized the Afghans who died.
“It was a tragic event and our hearts go out to the families of those who died,” she said.