Deaths at Kabul airport as Afghans scramble to escape Taliban

Deaths at Kabul airport as Afghans scramble to escape Taliban
At least five were killed in Kabul airport as Afghans made desperate attempts to flee the country just hours after the Taliban took over the capital.
2 min read
16 August, 2021
Distressing scenes took place at Kabul airport just hours after the Taliban takeover [Getty]

At least five people died at Kabul airport earlier Monday, as civilians clung onto planes and crowded the tarmac in a desperate bid to leave Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover of the capital.

Videos on social media on Monday show Afghan civilians - including government officials and foreign diplomats - packing the runway at Kabul airport in a desperate attempt to escape Afghanistan. 

Some were shown clinging to the aircraft in what appeared to be an attempt to open the door to the luggage compartment after being unable to board.

Social media footage appeared to show the bodies of Afghans who fell to their death after clinging to the aircraft as it took off.

Videos of three stowaways plunging to their deaths from a departing US Air Force C-17 transport plane were shared on social media.

Fights broke out in the terminal as Afghans struggled to get onboard flights, with commercial departures abruptly halted on Sunday.

US soldiers guarding the airport reportedly fired into the air as a crush took place.

One witness said he had seen the bodies of five people being taken to a vehicle.

A video on Twitter showed three bodies on the floor near the entrance of the airport.

It is not clear if the deaths were caused by gunfire or the stampede.

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Ghani left the country on Sunday night as the Taliban encircled the capital, capping a military victory for the insurgents that saw them capture most Afghan cities in just 10 days.

Government forces collapsed without the support of the US military, which invaded Afghanistan in 2001 after the September 11 attacks and toppled the Taliban due to its support for Al-Qaeda.

But the US ultimately failed to build a democratic government capable of withstanding the Taliban, despite spending billions of dollars on Afghan security and providing two decades of military support.