The April 2011 Afghan insider attack that left eight U.S. airmen and one U.S. contractor dead inside the 438th Expeditionary Wing in Kabul is the latest subject of online news program "For the Record" that first aired Nov. 26 on The Blaze TV.
The mass shooting by a trusted Afghan colonel was the deadliest "green-on-blue" attack in more than a dozen years of war. Despite three separate probes by the military in as many years, victims' relatives continue to question how investigators say the events unfolded that day in the Air Command and Control Center, where U.S. air advisers worked side-by-side with their Afghan counterparts.
The investigations have also drawn conflicting conclusions, although all agree that Afghan Col. Amed Gul was able to kill or critically wound eight Americans — most of them armed — in a matter of seconds.
Maj. Jeff Ausborn, Lt. Col. Frank Bryant, Maj. David Brodeur, Maj. Philip Ambard, Maj. Raymond Estelle II, Capt. Charles Ransom, Tech. Sgt. Tara Brown and James McLaughlin were in the room with Gul when they were executed. The ninth American killed, Capt. Nathan Nylander, was in an adjoining conference room when he heard the shooting.
Instead of fleeing to safety, Nylander headed into the ACCC and engaged in a shootout without Gul until the airman's weapon jammed. Gul then shot and killed Nylander, who was posthumously awarded the Silver Star.
The 30-minute, documentary-style program features Ausborn and Bryant's widows, Suzanna Ausborn and Janice Bryant, as well as retired judge advocate general Lt. Col. Sally Stenton, who was also deployed to the 438th in April 2011.
All three talk about their frustrations with the military probes, which they say left them with more questions that answers. Paramount among them: how Gul, acting alone, was able to take down so many armed Americans in less than 10 seconds.
One U.S. probe cited a "lack of warrior ethos." The final investigation discounted that, saying the first eight Americans killed simply did not have time to draw their weapons.
In the news program, Stenton also points to the possibility of corruption within the Afghan air force — and Gul's alleged ties to a criminal network — as a possible motive for the massacre.
The lead investigator into the final probe, ordered by U.S. Central Command in January 2013 in response to questions by family members and lawmakers, told Air Force Times earlier this year that he did uncover evidence to support the theory.
But it was part of a classified report the victims' relatives are not privy to.
Suzanna Ausborn, a retired Air Force captain, said the whole ordeal has caused her to distrust the service she loved for so long. When her son told her he wanted to join the Air Force, she said in the program, Ausborn advised him against it.
The program is available on demand to paid subscribers of The Blaze at www.video.theblaze.com/video.