Kabul airport: footage appears to show Afghans falling from plane after takeoff
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by Staff Reporter, August 16, 2021
(The Guardian) Desperate Afghans clung to the side of a moving US military plane leaving Kabul airport on Monday, with at least three people apparently falling to their deaths from the undercarriage immediately after takeoff.Paid Advertisement
Video footage shows hundreds of people running alongside the plane as it trundles along the runway of Kabul international airport. A number hang on to the side of the C-17A aircraft, just below the wing. Others run alongside waving and shouting.
As it soars above the Afghan capital, several people appear to plunge from the plane, one by one. Horrified onlookers point to the sky. A second video shows the bodies of three people – two men and a woman – lying on the ground in the airport complex.
The chaotic and tragic scenes at the airport after the fall of Kabul to the Taliban are likely to become a defining symbol of the west’s failure in Afghanistan. They follow the evacuation by helicopter on Sunday of the US embassy, and other diplomatic missions, in images reminiscent of the 1975 fall of Saigon.
Despite Taliban reassurances that there would be no reprisals against the civilian population, thousands of Afghans on Monday were trying to flee. The airport – secured by the US military – was the only feasible route out after the Islamist group took control of the country’s land borders.
On Sunday evening the Taliban moved into the presidential palace after Afghanistan’s elected president, Ashraf Ghani, fled the country. Access to Hamid Karzai airport, three mile (5km) from the centre of the capital, is now only possible via Taliban checkpoints.
The US, UK, Germany, Canada and a host of other coalition nations are seeking to evacuate their nationals. The southern, civilian side of the airport came under fire on Sunday, and on Monday morning there were reports US troops had fired into the air to disperse surging crowds. The fall of Kabul: a 20-year mission collapses in a single day
All civilian flights were reportedly cancelled on Monday. Foreign embassies warned their nationals and Afghan citizens it was not safe to travel to the airport and only to go there if instructed. Embassy staff are being helicoptered to the military side of the airport, which has been secured by US soldiers.
Videos from the airport show people pouring into the terminal building. Thousands – including parents carrying young children – are seen surging on to the tarmac. US Humvees are also on the ground at the airport. In one video a woman calls out: “Look at the state of the people of Afghanistan.”
As day broke in Afghanistan, video appeared to show thousands of Afghan men, women and children streaming towards grounded civilian planes on the tarmac, with hundreds trying to find a way onboard.
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