KABUL (AFP) – The Afghan government has declared a state of emergency in Kabul. On Monday (Aug 16), US soldiers fired bullets into the air, and all commercial flights were canceled at Kabul airport, as hundreds of Afghans rushed onto the runway in the hope of catching any aircraft out after the weekend Taleban takeover.
On social media, a dramatic video revealed a scene of mayhem on the runway, with people hurriedly clambering up an already packed and collapsing set of air-stairs.
It was a desperate attempt to board a parked passenger aircraft and flee the city only one day after the government’s demise.
As a throng of hundreds looked on, some who had successfully ascended the steps assisted others, while others dangled by their hands from the stair rails.
Panicked people fleeing the city carried overstuffed bags and terrified children.
According to video released by a media firm, several Afghans were hanging to a US military transport aircraft as it taxied on the runway.
In the ensuing pandemonium, five individuals were murdered.
Because of the airport scenario, US soldiers shot into the air to restore order, and all commercial flights were canceled.
“I’m terrified in this place. They’re shooting a lot of bullets into the air “The witness requested anonymity so as not to jeopardize his prospects of escaping.
The US State Department claimed American soldiers had guarded the airport’s perimeter as they evacuated embassy workers and hundreds of Afghans who had worked for Washington’s interests since the Taleban’s fall in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks.
The US embassy in Kabul sent a tweet advising Americans and Afghans not to “go to the airport.”
Thousands of more Afghans, including those with no ties to the US-led coalition, arrived with the aim of escaping, even without tickets or visas for international locations.
The airport chaos occurred only hours after Taleban commanders sent militants to Kabul to preserve order while Afghan President Ashraf Ghani left the country.
“We are scared to remain in this city, and we are attempting to leave Kabul,” said Ahmed, a 25-year-old man who also requested anonymity.
Rumors or false news disseminated on social media-fueled many of the arrivals.
“I saw on Facebook that Canada is admitting asylum seekers from Afghanistan,” Ahmed said.
“There is a risk since I served in the army. The Taleban would undoubtedly hunt me out.”
The United States claimed it had evacuated its entire diplomatic personnel to the airport, but that they were being kept apart from individuals who did not have the authorization to go.
Other social media videos released overnight depicted harrowing images of people trying to squeeze onto the rear of a cargo aircraft.
Outside the airport, an unsettling quiet prevailed as armed Taleban militants roamed the streets and established checkpoints.
Taleban co-founder Abdul Ghani Baradar urged his troops to maintain discipline after seizing control of the city in a statement shared on social media.
“Now it’s time to test and prove ourselves, to demonstrate that we can serve our country while also ensuring security and comfort,” he added.