WASHINGTON, D.C. – Recently uncovered military records may shed light on the rare cancers and other illnesses experienced by U.S. servicemembers who were deployed to an overseas base after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, according to reports by CBS News. The 2001 PowerPoint presentation focused on the Karshi-Khanabad air base, also known as “K2,” in Uzbekistan, and was compiled by an Army environmental testing team in the fall of 2001.
This presentation described multiple hazards at the base, including “enriched radioactive material” and emphasized air as the “pathway of greatest exposure concern.” Additionally, the presentation highlighted “severe subsurface soil fuel contamination” that posed a direct health threat if exposed.
Approximately 15,000 service members passed through the K2 base, which was utilized by American Special Operations teams to conduct counterterrorism strikes into Afghanistan following the 2001 attacks. These operations were aimed at targeting al Qaeda and the Taliban.
U.S. Army Lt. Gen. (Ret.) John Mulholland, who led Task Force Dagger, was among the first to enter Uzbekistan and Afghanistan in the opening days of Operation Enduring Freedom in the Fall of 2001. He raised immediate concerns about toxic materials found at K2, including jet fuel, solvents, depleted uranium, and yellowcake uranium.
Mark T. Jackson, a U.S. Army veteran, struggled with failing health after his deployment at K2. His search for answers led him to uncover the 2001 PowerPoint presentation, providing potential evidence for the health issues experienced by K2 veterans.
Furthermore, a Defense Department employee reported witnessing radiation readings “seven to nine times higher than normal background radiation” at the base, raising further concerns about the health environment.
The U.S. Department of Defense has consistently rejected claims of yellowcake evidence at the base, although ongoing efforts are being made to assess the health effects of those deployed to K2. The Veterans Affairs Administration is also involved in this research to identify potential connections between K2 deployment and health issues.
Despite the government’s stance, the K2 veterans advocacy group continues to pursue evidence through legal actions to obtain accurate medical diagnoses and adequate treatment plans for affected veterans. With ongoing developments, including the upcoming Johns Hopkins study on K-2, the investigation into the health impact of K2 deployment continues.