Investigation launched into shooting of Belgian man at Kabul airport

Investigation launched into shooting of Belgian man at Kabul airport
US troops guard access to Kabul airport. Credit: Belga

An investigation has been launched by the Belgian Foreign Affairs Ministry into the shooting of a Belgian national at Kabul airport on Friday.

The man, Hotak Jahanshir from Antwerp, was shot in the afternoon at Kabul International Airport, according to his brother, who provided De Morgen with footage showing Jahanshir being cared for in hospital.

"The FPS Foreign Affairs has passed on the story and the images to the relevant services, including those in Pakistan's capital Islamabad, but we have not yet received any confirmation," spokesperson Wouter Poels said, adding that the investigation is ongoing.

According to Jahanshir's brother, Sherbaz, the shooting happened whilst he was waiting among a crowd at the airport on the day Belgium's first planes were scheduled to evacuate people.

Sherbaz added that he was waiting at the northern entrance gate, which is mainly controlled by American forces, when a Belgian soldier approached the crowd asking whether any Belgians were present.

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Jahanshir responded, and was informed to come to the gate, at which point an American soldier shot him, Sherbaz claims.

"I could see the American flag on his uniform," Sherbaz told De Morgen. "I got furious and asked why he did that, but he shouted, 'Go, go!' He said he would aim at my forehead if I didn't leave."

Though this information has not yet been verified, on video footage from the hospital doctors can be heard saying Jahanshir was hit by a plastic or rubber bullet, and that his jaw is broken.

The footage has since been sent to the FPS Foreign Affairs, with the family's permission, and an investigation is now ongoing.

Evacuation missions from Afghanistan continue, whilst the United Nations human rights council has planned to hold an emergency session on Tuesday, amid calls for an international, independent body to be created to start investigating the situation on the ground.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF have called for immediate and unimpeded access to deliver medicines and other lifesaving supplies to millions of people in need of aid in Afghanistan itself.

“While the main focus over the past days has been major air operations for the evacuation of internationals and vulnerable Afghans, the massive humanitarian needs facing the majority of the population should not – and cannot – be neglected," a press release from the organisations stated.

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