Hundreds of desperate Afghans have surged onto the tarmac of Kabul airport in an attempt to leave the country as the Taliban took control over Kabul on Sunday.
Crowds packed the international airport in Kabul in a chaotic scene after Taliban insurgents entered the Afghan capital and President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, saying he wanted to avoid bloodshed https://t.co/neLGwErN3a pic.twitter.com/hmZqmMy90t
— Reuters (@Reuters) August 16, 2021
Kabul, the ultimate prize in every Afghanistan war, fell to the Taliban, completing their takeover of the country in a lighting offensive that saw provinces and warlords give up without a fight, days after the hasty withdrawal of US troops. President Ashraf Ghani, sources said, too fled the country, hours after fighters showed up on the outskirts of Kabul and their chiefs demanded transfer of power to avoid bloodshed.
Chaotic scenes continue this morning (August 16) at Kabul International Airport. Hundreds of people are trying to flee Afghanistan. pic.twitter.com/hhYMNUVqho
— Ahmer Khan (@ahmermkhan) August 16, 2021
— Jawad Sukhanyar (@JawadSukhanyar) August 16, 2021
Videos from the airport showed chaotic scenes as all commercial flights were cancelled. As the US deployed helicopters to evacuate diplomats and staff from its embassy, thousands of civilians flocked to the airport. Many civilians had already fled to the capital from other cities and towns in order to escape the Taliban’s brutal military push through the country over the past week.
Witnesses told The New York Times that they had heard gunshots as thousands of people crowded into the civilian terminal in an attempt to catch a flight out of the country. Video shared on social media, too, appeared to show panicked Afghans at the airport trying to flee while gunshots can be heard.