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16th Aug 2021

At least five dead amid Kabul airport chaos as Taliban takes capital

Charlie Herbert

Kabul airport chaos

Hundreds can be seen desperately trying to leave the capital.

There have been chaotic scenes at Kabul airport as the Taliban took full control of the Afghan capita, with witnesses reporting that at least five people have died inside the airport.

Huge swathes of people can be seen trying to secure flights and a way out of the country as the Taliban completed their full takeover of the country with their capture of Kabul.

The airport represented the only way out for thousands of people.

In footage shared online, US personnel and Afghans fearing for their safety can be seen trying to get onto flights. All weekend, helicopters have been shuttling back and forth between the US embassy and the airport to get staff there out of the country.

The American flag has now been removed from the embassy.

Many have drawn comparisons between the scenes in Kabul and those in Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War in the mid-1970s.

These comparisons have been strenuously denied by the White House, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken telling ABC News: “Let’s take a step back. This is manifestly not Saigon.”

There were reports that gunfire was heard around Kabul airports during the evening and night time on Sunday. US citizens remain in the city have been advised to find shelter.

The Pentagon has said that US forces remain in control of the airport and had assumed control of air traffic operations “supported by Afghan counterparts.”

The Press Secretary for the Department of Defence, John Kirby, told the Independent that any attack against US troops in the evacuation operation will be “met forcefully.”

Related links:

Taliban enter outskirts of Kabul in move to retake whole of Afghanistan

He told the paper: “Several hundred civilians including personnel and private US citizens have been evacuated so far. We continue to build capacity to expedite processing for at-risk Afghan civilians. We are especially grateful for Canada’s generous offer to host 20,000 Afghans at-risk.

“As we have made clear, this is a narrowly-defined mission to safeguard the movement of civilians out of Kabul. Any threat posed to the mission will be taken seriously—and any attack on our people or on our operation will be met forcefully.”

Top Afghan officials are reportedly some of those who made it on to commercial flights out of the country, just hours before the government fell.

The country’s president has already fled the country, with Taliban officials proclaiming that the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” will take over from his government.

The extreme Islamist group now control every major city and all border crossings in the country.

This comes just weeks after the final US troops were withdrawn from the country, ending a 20-year long presence there. The British military in Afghanistan came to an end at a similar time.