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Three stowaways fell hundreds of feet to death from a military plane and at least five others were killed at Kabul airport as thousands of desperate Afghans tried to flee the Taliban by hopping on rescue flights in increasingly chaotic scenes in the capital.
Thousands of terrified people have descended on Hamad Karzai airport as the United Kingdom, the United States and other Western countries took their citizens and diplomats out on military planes after the Taliban’s blitzkrieg victory over the Afghan government.
All commercial flights have been suspended, prompting desperate civilians to climb onto the fuselage of departing military aircraft and then try to stowaway through the wheel housings.
Three people died after a plane took off. Video released later appeared to show residents picking up their bodies from a roof in Kabul.
US military forces brought in Apache helicopters to fly low over the runway and clear crowds of Afghans from the runway to allow planes to take off. Previously, US troops had fired into the air to try to push back the crowd.
At least five people died at the Kabul airport as thousands desperately tried to catch flights out of Afghanistan amid increasingly chaotic scenes. Witnesses said it was unclear whether the victims were killed by gunfire or in a stampede.
Thousands of Afghans are trying to take flights from the capital after the Taliban take over the city. An American soldier points his gun at a passenger at Kabul airport
The UK Defense Ministry confirmed that the first British nationals landed at RAF Brize Norton base early Monday when 60 countries issued a joint order to the Taliban to allow civilians to flee before the foreign ministers of the EU hold crisis talks via video link on Tuesday.
The Taliban stormed the capital on Sunday after the Western-backed government collapsed and President Ashraf Ghani fled the country “ to avoid bloodshed, ” ending a two-decade campaign in which the United States and his allies had tried to transform the country. country.
The US embassy has been evacuated and the US flag lowered, with diplomats moving to the airport in scenes reminiscent of the evacuation of the embassy from Saigon in 1975. Other Western countries have also closed their missions and personnel and civilians are flying.
Almost all major checkpoints in Kabul were under Taliban control on Monday morning and the Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority issued a notice saying the “civilian side” of the airport had been “closed until further notice” and that the military controlled the airspace.
Early Monday morning, flight tracking data showed no immediate commercial flights over the country. Apache helicopters were later seen being used to clear the runway, which was filled with thousands of Afghans desperate to escape, to allow evacuation flights to take off.
Video from Afghanistan’s parliament building showed Taliban fighters entering the main chamber today. The grainy images showed fighters carrying weapons sitting at a table at the head of the chamber under the government seal, some smiling and posing for photographs.
It comes after officials promised that civilians would not be harmed and announced that everyone would be able to return home from Kabul airport if they decided to stay in the country. The Taliban previously said that Westerners would be allowed to leave the country, but Afghans would be prohibited from leaving.
The footage showed desperate Afghans trying to get on planes on the ground at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai Airport after the Taliban swept through the city.
US troops fired into the air at Kabul airport today as desperate Afghans scrambled outside the airbridges trying to flee as the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan.
Video posted on social media showed hundreds of people trying to scale the outside of the airbridges to board commercial ocean liners that were grounded at Hamad Karzai airport.
Hamad Karzai Quicks and Facts
At least five people have died at the Kabul airport as thousands desperately try to flee Afghanistan.
Three stowaways were reported to have died after holding onto the wheels of an evacuation flight
Hundreds of people ran alongside a taxiing US Air Force plane and climbed onto the front and rear wheels.
US troops fired warning shots to prevent hundreds of civilians from running onto the runway Monday morning.
An Apache helicopter was used to zoom onto the runway to clear people so planes could take off.
To ‘prevent bloodshed,’ President Ashraf Ghani fled the country on Sunday night when insurgents approached
The airport is Afghanistan’s main evacuation point, but all non-military flights have been suspended.
Taliban officials said they had received no reports of any fighting anywhere in the country and declared peace.
The group controlled 90 percent of state buildings and fighters were told to avoid damage, an official said.
Mohammad Naeem, spokesman for the Taliban political office: ‘Thank God the war is over in the country’
The EU said foreign ministers will hold crisis talks on Tuesday as member states seek to evacuate their citizens.
Government forces collapsed without the support of the US military, which invaded in 2001 after the September 11 attacks.
The United States ultimately failed to build a democratic government capable of resisting the Taliban.