Thousands of desperate Afghan citizens have rushed to Kabul’s airport in frantic attempts to escape the city after the Taliban took control of the city.
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 five people were killed at Kabul airport, Reuters reported, as Afghans tried to flee the country before the Taliban establishes a government.
In chaotic scenes, panicked civilians sprinted towards grounded civilian plane; one Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul was reportedly stopped from departing.
Latest pictures from Kabul Airport. People are on their own now while the world watches in silence. Only sane advise to Afghan people…RUN pic.twitter.com/RQGw28jFYx— Sudhir Chaudhary (@sudhirchaudhary) August 16, 2021
Insane. Don’t have any other words.— Ragıp Soylu (@ragipsoylu) August 16, 2021
The Kabul Airport.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has admitted “some people won’t get back” from Afghanistan as a desperate struggle to get UK nationals and local allies out of the country continued.
Wallace, who previously served in the Scots Guards, appeared to choke up while appearing on the LBC radio station on Monday morning as he spoke about the evacuation effort from the country, which has fallen to the Taliban following the withdrawal of Western troops.
British troops are racing against the clock to get remaining UK nationals and their local allies out of Afghanistan following the dramatic fall of the country’s Western-backed government.
But becoming emotional while speaking to LBC, Wallace spoke of his regret that “some people won’t get back”.
He said: “It’s a really deep part of regret for me … look, some people won’t get back. Some people won’t get back and we will have to do our best in third countries to process those people.”
Asked why he felt the situation “so personally”, Wallace replied: “Because I’m a soldier… because it’s sad and the West has done what it’s done, we have to do our very best to get people out and stand by our obligations and 20 years of sacrifice is what it is.”
Lead elements of 16 Air Assault Brigade were working with US forces to secure Kabul airport to ensure flights can continue as Afghans and foreigners alike scramble to leave.
Wallace said the barrier to helping more people leave the country was how quickly they could be processed.
He told BBC Breakfast: “Our flights, our planning and coming in and out and soon if we manage to keep it in the way we’re planning to, we should have capacity for over 1,000 people a day to exit to the UK. Currently this is not about capacity on planes, it’s about processing speed, so that’s why we’re trying to fix that.”
Kabul airport, today. pic.twitter.com/N6nc4XZsva— Tajuden Soroush (@TajudenSoroush) August 16, 2021
Wallace said the government was aiming to fly out a further 1,500 people over the next 24 to 36 hours or slightly longer.
Kabul airport has so far not come under attack but there are fears that could change quickly with Taliban insurgents now effectively in control of the capital.