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US plane leaves Kabul with desperate Afghans clinging to aircraft, videos show fall to death

Viral videos show civilians thronging runways of Kabul airport a day after Taliban siege. One such video appeared to show 3 men falling to their death from a US Air Force airplane.

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New Delhi: The Kabul airport was engulfed by chaos Monday as hundreds of Afghans scrambled to board American flights in a desperate attempt to leave the country, a day after insurgents from the Taliban seized the capital city.

In several videos circulating on social media, civilians could be seen thronging the runways of the Kabul international airport and clinging on to American airplanes evacuating US officials and diplomats.

In one such video, a huge crowd is seen running along a C-17 of the US Air Force, with some climbing on to the undercarriage, as it took off.

In another video, people appear to be falling off the same aircraft while it’s mid-flight.

 

The Aśvaka, an Afghanistan-based news agency, noted that, according to local residents, at least three young men fell to their deaths from the airplane.

There were also dramatic visuals of Apache attack helicopters flying low over the tarmac to disperse the crowd of civilians.

Earlier in the day, another video of people trying to climb a civilian plane had also gone viral.

Amid the situation at the airport, the US reportedly temporarily halted all evacuation flights from Kabul.

5 people die in Kabul airport chaos

According to Reuters, five people were killed amid the scramble at the airport, but the news agency said their cause of death was not clear.

A witness quoted in the report said it was unclear if the five died in the stampede at the airport, or were shot. According to a US official quoted in another Reuters report, American forces had fired in the air at the airport “to deter people trying to force their way on to a military flight that was set to take US diplomats and embassy staff out of the city”

The Taliban made rapid strides in Afghanistan amid the pullout of international troops over the past few weeks, and finally seized the capital city Sunday, spreading a wave of terror among Afghans who lived under the insurgent group’s brutal rule between 1996 and 2001.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Vice-President Amrullah Saleh fled to Tajikistan after the Taliban encircled Kabul. The former later said he left the country to avoid bloodshed.

(Edited by Rachel John)


Also read: ‘Our advice to Taliban is avoid urban warfare’: Afghan ex-PM Hekmatyar blames Ghani for crisis


 

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