Congress releases declassified Pentagon documents displaying deployed US troops had been exposed to perilous toxic compounds

Congress releases declassified Pentagon files showing deployed US troops were exposed to dangerous toxins
The base in question was a former Soviet navy installation termed Karshi-Khanabad air base in southern Uzbekistan, typically referred to as “K2,” which served as a vital logistical hub for US forces in the course of the campaign to concentrate on al Qaeda and the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan in the fast aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

Thousands of American troops had been stationed there from 2001 until finally 2005, when Uzbekistan’s then-President Islam Karimov ejected US personnel from the place next US criticism of his government’s crackdown on protesters and its human rights record.

The paperwork unveiled Thursday by the House Oversight Committee’s Subcommittee on Nationwide Security contain the 2001, 2002 and 2004 environmental hazard surveys and well being chance assessments that the Defense Division carried out on the foundation.

One particular survey from 2001 suggests the soil all-around the base was contaminated with jet fuel, and that “inhalation of vapors from uncovered, subsurface gas contaminated soils could possibly induce adverse overall health outcomes to staff … if enough exposure conditions manifest,” recommending a prohibition against digging into soil contaminated with jet gasoline.

A military services health and fitness assessment from 2004 identified that even though “less than 10% of personnel will working experience [radiation] exposures earlier mentioned qualifications” at the camp, “the probable for daily speak to with radiation exists for up to 100% of the assigned units.”

Soviet missiles ended up ruined at the base

According to Defense Division files, numerous decades prior to the US military’s use of the base, Soviet missiles had been ruined there.

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“This celebration contaminated some regions of floor dust with lower-amount radioactive depleted uranium and asbestos,” in accordance to the doc, despite the fact that efforts have been produced to cordon off the contaminated places.

“The males and ladies who deployed to Karshi-Khanabad (K2) Airbase in southern Uzbekistan ended up among the first boots on the ground soon after the September 11, 2001, attacks,” the chairman of the subcommittee, Democratic Rep. Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts, stated in a statement accompanying the release of the documents.

“Our Subcommittee is releasing these paperwork right now to support K2 veterans and servicemembers better fully grasp what they may possibly have been uncovered to while serving at K2 and to enable them make educated health care selections,” he included.

The subcommittee’s top Republican, Rep. Mark Green of Tennessee, explained the “declassified paperwork point to a mounting system of evidence that our troops who served at K2 Air Foundation in Uzbekistan had been exposed to remarkably poisonous chemical substances and radioactive components.”

“K2 veterans’ cancer prices are 5 occasions better than individuals of counterparts who served in other places, and lots of are ineligible for wellness added benefits in spite of the direct assistance connection of their diseases. Congress can’t manage to wait. Putting these paperwork in the fingers of the general public is a fantastic step forward to keep the DOD and VA accountable and gain justice for these courageous veterans who have sacrificed so a great deal for our country,” he additional.”

K2 veterans had been not made informed of the dangers

Veterans who had deployed to the foundation formerly instructed the committee that they experienced not been produced mindful of the hazards of publicity.

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“K2 associates were told repeatedly that no major threat from hazards existed,” retired Air Force Master Sgt. Paul Widener Jr. told the subcommittee in February.

“There were being no briefings on poisonous exposures, no protecting products advisable, issued or utilized,” he additional.

The subcommittee’s assertion reported the Division of Veterans Affairs had said in April that it was getting “steps to deal with the fears of K2 servicemembers and veterans, including coming up with a new examine to investigate wellness traits amongst K2 Veterans.”

Veterans groups have lengthy referred to as for the declassification of the wellbeing assessments.

“The Division of Protection is fully commited to transparency. At the time it was decided that there was no further will need for the documents to be labeled, the Division commenced the course of action of declassification with U.S. Central Command. As soon as declassified, the paperwork ended up shared with the Office of Veterans Affairs. The files had been originally categorized to protect troop toughness and site details,” a Pentagon spokesperson advised CNN.

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