Air Force Finds Mixed Motives in Kabul Attack

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  1. maomao

    maomao Veteran Hunter of Maleecha Senior Member

    Apr 7, 2010
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    An Air Force investigation found an Afghan military officer who shot and killed eight American airmen and a retired Army officer at the Kabul airport in April had expressed a desire to kill Americans, but didn't establish a conclusive motive, according to a report released Tuesday.

    The shooting rampage by Col. Ahmed Gul was the most deadly such attack by a member of the Afghan military on American trainers.

    Col. Gul at points had expressed sympathy for the Taliban, but people interviewed by investigators indicated his views had shifted before the attack. Investigators also found personal and financial problems may have motivated his rampage.

    The Afghan officer was wounded during the attack by Air Force personnel, who returned fire, but Afghan autopsy reports concluded Col. Gul was ultimately killed by a purposefully self-inflicted gunshot wound.

    The airmen who died in the attack were shot multiple times. The report found that Col. Gul had shot all but one of them in the head. Before he died, according to the report, the Afghan officer wrote religious phrases in blood on the walls at the U.S. Air Force command center, where the attack took place.

    According to interviews with people who knew him, Col. Gul lived for a time in Pakistan and became radicalized there. At least one person interviewed by investigators said that in 2008, when preparing to move back to Afghanistan, Col. Gul said he was returning "to kill Americans."

    But that person, whose name was redacted in the copy of the report released by the Air Force, said he didn't take the threats seriously because Col. Gul's views were inconsistent.

    When he came to Afghanistan and began working for the government he shaved his beard and appeared to relax his religious attitudes, the report found. The report found that none of Col. Gul's co-workers thought he was a religious radical, although some noted he would get angry at seemingly minor problems.

    Air Force Capt. Nathan Nylander was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for trying to evacuate the room where Col. Gul started firing. Capt. Nylander returned fire, wounding Col. Gul, then continued with the evacuation. But Col. Gul began firing again, killing Capt. Nylander.

    "These Airmen paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving our nation in a combat zone," Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said in a statement. "Their selfless sacrifices leave behind an honorable legacy that we continue to see in the commitment of Airmen who serve as air advisers today."

    Air Force Finds Mixed Motives in Kabul Attack -

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