Chaos at Kabul Airport as US Tries To Evacuate Staff

Chaos has reigned at Kabul airport less than a day after the Taliban seized the Afghan capital.

Scenes of panic were reported as residents tried to flee when the US military took control of the city’s airport to evacuate diplomatic personnel.

According to the US military, soldiers had shot at two armed men.

Besides, international media reported that three people died when they fell from a plane shortly after it took off, as they were clinging to the aircraft to flee the territory.

The Kabul airport was closed earlier for soldiers to clear the runways as US planes landed, including one carrying marines.

US marines have arrived in Kabul to assist in evacuation efforts, as the United States and other countries rushed to withdraw both personnel and allies from Afghanistan.

Citing informed sources, the Reuters news agency reported that a German evacuation airplane also landed at the capital’s airport on Monday.

The Taliban seized Kabul on Sunday, declaring victory after the Afghan government collapsed and President Ashraf Ghani fled the country.

The Islamist group took full control of the capital after most foreign troops withdrew. In the meantime, dozens of people made their way to the airport.

Evacuations of foreigners and Afghans linked to foreign governments and organizations were reportedly carried out.

But some passengers said rumors spread that people without a visa could board the planes.

US forces fired into the air to disperse the large crowds that gathered at the airport as people tried to force their way to reach planes and escape.

Videos released by the media showed people clinging to the side of an aircraft starting to taxi on the runway and two men falling from a plane that had taken off.

Later, all flights stopped “out of an abundance of caution,” said John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman.

The US government said thousands of US citizens, embassy staff and their families, and vulnerable Afghan citizens would be airlifted over the next few days.

Over 60 countries issued a joint statement calling on the Taliban to allow people who want to leave to do so, besides keeping roads, border crossings, and airports open.

A Taliban spokesman reportedly said that people could return home from the airport, Reuters reported.

In another development, the Taliban’s lightning advance to retake Afghanistan has led thousands of people, including former US generals and Afghans, to criticize and blame the US president for the hasty troops’ withdrawal.

US President Joe Biden has faced backlash over his decision to end America’s 20-year conflict.

His critics alleged that he had undone two decades of work and sacrifice, paving the way for a humanitarian catastrophe.