Crowds of Afghan civilians desperately fleeing the Taliban have been filmed chasing plans down the runway at Kabul airport – with some appearing to cling to the wheels of a US military plane.
In distressing footage, video showed stowaways falling to their deaths from a plane as it departed the Afghan capital.
As videos circulated online of Taliban militants inside the Presidential Palace following a week-long rapid offensive across Afghanistan, scores of Afghans crowded the tarmac at Hamid Karzai International Airport to try and escape the country.
At least three people were killed at Kabul airport, Reuters reported, as Afghans tried to flee the country before the Taliban establishes a government.
Video: People run on tarmac of Kabul international airport as a US military aircraft attempts to take off. pic.twitter.com/9qA36HS0WQ— TOLOnews (@TOLOnews) August 16, 2021
A local news agency in Kabul reported: “Locals near Kabul airport claim that three young men who were holding themselves tightly in the wheels of an aeroplane fell on top of people’s houses.
“One of the locals confirmed this and said that the fall of these people made a loud and terrifying noise.”
The US military is struggling to manage a chaotic evacuation from Afghanistan as the Taliban patrolled the capital and tried to project calm after toppling the Western-backed government.
The Taliban swept into Kabul on Sunday after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, bringing a stunning end to a two-decade campaign in which the US and its allies had tried to transform Afghanistan.
The country’s Western-trained security forces collapsed in a matter of days, even before the withdrawal of the last US troops.
Other videos circulating on social media showed hundreds of people racing across the tarmac as US soldiers fired warning shots in the air.
You only have to see the people actually clinging to the aircraft to imagine what will happen when it takes off. I will not re-tweet the images of Afghans dropping from the sky, but they're out there https://t.co/vqZmi8Bit9— Mark Urban (@MarkUrban01) August 16, 2021
Massouma Tajik, a 22-year-old data analyst, described scenes of panic at the airport, where she was among hundreds of Afghans hoping to board an evacuation flight.
After waiting six hours, she heard shots from outside, where a crowd of men and women were trying to climb aboard a plane.
She said US troops sprayed gas and fired into the air to disperse them. Gunfire could be heard in the voice notes she sent to the Associated Press.
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