Kabul: People chase and hang onto military plane at airport
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Footage emerging from Kabul Airport showed a large group of Afghans chasing a US Air Force cargo plane heading for the runway for take-off. At least six people could be seen holding onto the side of the aircraft as a seventh attempted to find purchase as the plane kept moving. Local journalists have reported desperate scenes at Karzai Airport as thousands headed for the airfield in hope of securing a seat out of the country amid Taliban insurgents retaking Afghanistan’s capital.
Sky News reporter Mark White commented on the footage saying: “Dear Lord, this is just awful and shocking, absolute chaos, with the desperate spilling onto the runway at #kabulairport.”
BBC International Affairs correspondent Jiyan Gol said: “Kabul airport, thousands of people fearing for their lives chasing US airforce plane, desperately trying to get out of the country to escape Taliban persecution #Afghanistan.”
Five people have reportedly died amid the chaotic scenes unraveling at Kabul airport.
A US official said troops had fired in the air to deter people trying to force their way onto a military flight that was set to take U.S diplomats and embassy staff out of the fallen city.
JUST IN: Kabul Airport horror sees Afghans fall to their death after clinging to plane to escape
One witness, waiting for a flight out for more than 20 hours, said it was unclear if the five had been shot or killed in a stampede.
Three bodies could be seen on the ground near what appeared to be an airport side entrance, in a video posted on social media.
Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani fled from the country on Sunday as the Islamists entered Kabul virtually unopposed, saying he wanted to avoid bloodshed.
Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen said in a message on Twitter their fighters were under strict orders not to harm anyone.
“Life, property, and honour of none shall be harmed but must be protected by the mujahideen,” he said.
Earlier, Mohammad Naeem, the spokesman for the Taliban’s political office, told Al Jazeera TV, the Afghan people and the Taliban had witnessed the fruits of their efforts and sacrifices over 20 years.
More to follow…
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