At least 10 people were killed in the chaos at Kabul airport after crowds of thousands flocked to the area on Sunday afternoon and into Monday with the hope of leaving the country.
People entered the airport from all sides despite the presence of US forces as well as troops from other nations attempting to secure the evacuations of their respective citizens and Afghan local staff.
Shots were fired and a stampede ensued, both of which caused fatalities. AFP, quoting the US Pentagon, reported that US forces killed two armed people. Two other people were killed after they fell from a US military airplane in flight after takeoff. The people had apparently grabbed onto the aircraft from the outside.
Some eyewitnesses said that 10 were wounded.
Airport officials said that people were misinformed about available flights, and entered the area after all flights had stopped. Many of those present did not have passports.
In one video being shared widely on social media, scores of people ran alongside a large US military aircraft as it attempted to take off.
“People flocked to the airport out of fear, and unfortunately there are casualties,” said Ahmad Shah Katawazi, a former official.
“This is the result of Ashraf Ghani’s wrong policies,” said Hamidullah Masroor, a university lecturer.
“We have six members in our family, and we want to leave due to the uncertain situation,” said Mohammad Rabi, a Kabul resident.
“I don’t have money to even feed my children,” said Hanif, a Kabul resident.
Despite the panic, Taliban commanders in Kabul pledged that the people’s safety is their top priority.
“I ask my people to stay calm and to not be concerned. We are here to serve them,” said Qari Khalid, a Taliban commander.