A large number of people desperate to flee Afghanistan before the arrival of the Taliban in the capital has caused a chaotic situation and panic at the Kabul airport. Civilians have crowded the airfield trying to board flights to leave the country.
US Army soldiers have been deployed to the airport to try to regain control and several media have reported several bursts of gunfire. The agency Reuters, citing several witnesses, has reported that there are at least five deceased. For its part, the newspaper The Wall Street Journal reports that three people have been shot dead.
The tide of people began to arrive from Sunday night, with many of them without even travel documents or visas, leaving haunting images, after the Taliban entered the city culminating their final victory after two decades of war. Most are ordinary people who rushed to the airport led by the idea that the United States, which is evacuating its personnel in the country, is going to remove the Afghans, an airport official has informed Efe, who asked to stay in anonymity.
The mob has left dozens of people beaten, including children, who throw themselves at each other to reach the runway, where some planes remain scheduled for a limited evacuation of foreigners, he detailed. All commercial flights to leave the capital have been canceled by the Afghan Civil Aviation Authority.
Early in the morning on Monday, the US State Department announced that it had “completed” the process to transport the approximately 4,000 employees of its embassy in Kabul to the airport.
Likewise, the US embassy has reiterated its alert for people waiting to be repatriated, so that they do not approach the airport due to the fragile security of the area, and that they remain sheltered in their places until they are notified.
The State Department has reported in a statement that it is working to secure the Hamid Karzai International Airport and allow the safe exit of US personnel and their allies through civilian and military flights.
“During the next 48 hours, we will have expanded our security presence to almost 6,000 soldiers, with a mission focused solely on facilitating these efforts and assuming control of air traffic,” he reported.
The United States intends to transfer in the next few days “thousands of US citizens who have resided in Afghanistan, as well as local personnel of the US mission in Kabul, their families, and other particularly vulnerable Afghan citizens.”
He has also assured that he has accelerated the evacuation of “thousands of Afghans eligible for special US immigrant visas, of which almost 2,000 have already arrived in the United States in the last two weeks.”
Several countries, including Spain, have announced the dispatch of planes to repatriate nationals from Afghanistan, as well as interpreters or other local workers who have worked for them.