AIRLINK 75.30 Increased By ▲ 1.60 (2.17%)
BOP 4.94 Increased By ▲ 0.04 (0.82%)
CNERGY 4.39 Decreased By ▼ -0.13 (-2.88%)
DFML 41.18 Decreased By ▼ -3.70 (-8.24%)
DGKC 83.31 Decreased By ▼ -2.19 (-2.56%)
FCCL 21.65 Increased By ▲ 0.25 (1.17%)
FFBL 32.00 Decreased By ▼ -0.51 (-1.57%)
FFL 9.42 Decreased By ▼ -0.17 (-1.77%)
GGL 10.08 Decreased By ▼ -0.19 (-1.85%)
HASCOL 6.82 Decreased By ▼ -0.31 (-4.35%)
HBL 114.00 Decreased By ▼ -0.70 (-0.61%)
HUBC 139.10 No Change ▼ 0.00 (0%)
HUMNL 12.00 Decreased By ▼ -0.42 (-3.38%)
KEL 4.91 Decreased By ▼ -0.12 (-2.39%)
KOSM 4.36 Decreased By ▼ -0.09 (-2.02%)
MLCF 37.51 Decreased By ▼ -0.09 (-0.24%)
OGDC 132.85 Decreased By ▼ -3.95 (-2.89%)
PAEL 24.85 Decreased By ▼ -0.54 (-2.13%)
PIBTL 6.60 Decreased By ▼ -0.09 (-1.35%)
PPL 117.80 Decreased By ▼ -3.20 (-2.64%)
PRL 26.06 Decreased By ▼ -0.53 (-1.99%)
PTC 13.72 Decreased By ▼ -0.38 (-2.7%)
SEARL 57.25 Decreased By ▼ -0.05 (-0.09%)
SNGP 66.50 Decreased By ▼ -1.50 (-2.21%)
SSGC 10.24 Decreased By ▼ -0.18 (-1.73%)
TELE 8.21 Decreased By ▼ -0.24 (-2.84%)
TPLP 10.70 Decreased By ▼ -0.28 (-2.55%)
TRG 62.40 Decreased By ▼ -0.94 (-1.48%)
UNITY 27.04 Decreased By ▼ -0.01 (-0.04%)
WTL 1.35 Decreased By ▼ -0.03 (-2.17%)
BR100 7,846 Decreased By -95 (-1.2%)
BR30 25,256 Decreased By -391.8 (-1.53%)
KSE100 74,836 Decreased By -681.2 (-0.9%)
KSE30 24,004 Decreased By -273.3 (-1.13%)
World

Kabul airport mobbed as Afghans make a desperate dash to exit

  • Dramatic footage posted on social media showed a scene of chaos on the runway, with civilians frantically clambering up an already overcrowded and buckling set of airstairs
Published August 16, 2021

KABUL: US troops fired shots into the air and all commercial flights were cancelled at Kabul airport Monday as thousands of Afghans crowded onto the tarmac in the hope of catching any flight out after the weekend Taliban takeover.

Dramatic footage posted on social media showed a scene of chaos on the runway, with civilians frantically clambering up an already overcrowded and buckling set of airstairs.

It was a desperate bid to board a parked passenger plane and escape the city a day after the government's collapse.

As a crowd of hundreds watched on, those who successfully climbed the stairs helped others up, while some hung from the stair railings by their hands.

Panicked families trying to flee the capital carried overpacked luggage, with frightened children in tow.

Taliban expose failure of US efforts to build Afghan army

The situation caused such a commotion that US troops fired into the air to restore order and all commercial flights were cancelled.

"I feel very scared here. They are firing lots of shots into the air," the witness said, asking not to be named in case it jeopardised his chances of leaving.

The US State Department said American troops had secured the perimeter of the airport as they evacuate embassy employees and thousands of Afghans who worked for Washington's interests since they toppled the Taliban in the wake of the September 11 attacks.

'We are afraid'

The US embassy in Kabul tweeted to tell American nationals and Afghans to "not travel to the airport".

But thousand more Afghans -- even some with no links to the US-led coalition -- showed up in the hope of getting out, even without tickets or visas for foreign destinations.

The bedlam at the airport came just hours after Taliban leaders ordered their fighters into Kabul to maintain order as Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country.

"We are afraid to live in this city and we are trying to flee Kabul," said a 25-year old man who also asked to be identified only as Ahmed.

Many of the arrivals were fuelled by rumours, or fake news spread on social media.

"I read on Facebook that Canada is accepting asylum from Afghanistan," said Ahmed.

"Since I served in the army... there is danger. The Taliban would definitely target me."

Other videos posted on social media also showed desperate scenes overnight of people fighting to cram into the back of a cargo plane.

Outside of the airport, an uneasy calm held over Kabul as armed Taliban insurgents patrolled the streets and set up checkpoints.

In a message posted to social media, Taliban co-founder Abdul Ghani Baradar called on his fighters to remain disciplined after taking control of the city.

US troops arrive in Afghan capital to assist evacuations

"Now it's time to test and prove, now we have to show that we can serve our nation and ensure security and comfort of life," he said.

The scenes at the airport were reminiscent of the chaos that enveloped Washington's earlier bungled escape from Vietnam in 1975, even as Washington swatted away the comparison.

"This is not Saigon," US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told a broadcaster on Sunday.

Comments

Comments are closed.