12 deaths at Kabul airport confirmed as Taliban urges desperate Afghans to return home
They were reportedly killed by gunshots and stampede
Chaos at Kabul's airport has led to the deaths of 12 people since Sunday.
The figure comes as the Taliban urged people to leave the capital's Hamid Karzai International Airport where hundreds are still trying to secure flights since the insurgents took back control of Afghanistan.
The deceased are said to have died as a result of gunshots or a stampede, Taliban and NATO officials said.
The Taliban have now warned people to leave the airport and return to their homes, with one official saying: "We don't want to hurt anyone at the airport."
Chaos began at the airport on Sunday when the Taliban takeover of Kabul was confirmed, with thousands of Afghans flocking there and spilling out onto the runway.
The death toll at the airport stood at five after Sunday, with reports that US troops shot and killed two armed men as well.
But the desperate scenes look almost certain to continue in Kabul, with new footage emerging online of a child being passed to a foreign soldier in the hope they might be able to escape. There are also scenes of mayhem in another clip that captures shots being fired near crowds at the airport's north gate.
— Talha Jan طلحہ 🇵🇸 (@talhajan0) August 18, 2021
Chaotic situation at Kabul International Airport.
Visuals Claimed to be from the north gate of Kabul International Airport. Gun shots can also be clearly heard.#SaveAfghanWomen pic.twitter.com/oLYcY3LoIo
— Sudhir Chaudhary (@sudhirchaudhary) August 19, 2021
The UK has set up an evacuation centre at the airport compound, attempting to airlift thousands of British nationals and eligible Afghans out of Kabul in the next few weeks.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told Sky News that so far the Taliban were cooperating with the British by letting people through to be evacuated.
He admitted that "crowd issues" were the main challenge for embassy staff.
"It is very, very difficult for those soldiers dealing with some desperate, desperate people," he said.
Wallace committed to "calling forward nearly 2,000 people" to board evacuation flights in the coming days.
“People are getting through, they are getting on the planes.”
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace says the Taliban are letting through “our people” at Kabul Airport, to fly back to the UK.
Get live Afghanistan updates: https://t.co/160xKM1XkB pic.twitter.com/Y4Y6E9Y9Fx
— Sky News (@SkyNews) August 19, 2021
On Wednesday, the government announced that the UK would be accepting 20,000 Afghan refugees over the next five years, with 5,000 of these arriving by the end of 2021.