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Multiple major newswire services reported early on Monday morning that at least several people were killed at the airport in Kabul as thousands of people desperately attempted to board aircraft leaving the country amid Democrat President Joe Biden’s disastrous pullout from the nation.
At least five people were killed amid the chaos of people fearful for their lives trying to force their way onto planes, Reuters reported, citing multiple witnesses.
It wasn’t clear how the people were killed. U.S. forces previously fired in the air to warn unauthorized people from trying to board military flights, according to numerous reports early Monday.
Numerous videos were posted online by journalists and activists showing horrifying scenes unfold on the ground as thousands frantically waited on the tarmac.
— Natalie Amiri (@NatalieAmiri) August 16, 2021
किसी तरह निकल जाएँ बस!
Location : Kabul Airport
Courtesy : Unknow pic.twitter.com/hp2RTxsvNM
— Umashankar Singh उमाशंकर सिंह (@umashankarsingh) August 16, 2021
— Nicola Careem (@NicolaCareem) August 16, 2021
It is chaos at Kabul airport. Planes are taking off and landing and people are running across the runway. pic.twitter.com/kKrg667AQB
— Sowaibah Hanifie (@SowaibahH) August 16, 2021
“Saigon on steroids,” Australian political commentator Rita Panahi, who was born in the Middle East, wrote on Twitter. “The chaos at Kabul airport was the dizzying final act of a lightning Taliban offensive that saw the militants seize the last of the remaining cities under government control, culminating with the country’s capital.”
The Department of Defense (DOD) released a joint statement with the Department of State late on Sunday, saying that they were working to secure the airport.
The statement said:
At present we are completing a series of steps to secure the Hamid Karzai International Airport to enable the safe departure of U.S. and allied personnel from Afghanistan via civilian and military flights. Over the next 48 hours, we will have expanded our security presence to nearly 6,000 troops, with a mission focused solely on facilitating these efforts and will be taking over air traffic control. Tomorrow and over the coming days, we will be transferring out of the country thousands of American citizens who have been resident in Afghanistan, as well as locally employed staff of the U.S. mission in Kabul and their families and other particularly vulnerable Afghan nationals. And we will accelerate the evacuation of thousands of Afghans eligible for U.S. Special Immigrant Visas, nearly 2,000 of whom have already arrived in the United States over the past two weeks. For all categories, Afghans who have cleared security screening will continue to be transferred directly to the United States. And we will find additional locations for those yet to be screened.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) reportedly heard from Americans trapped inside Afghanistan behind enemy lines, according to New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman.
“Cotton spokesman says that their office has heard from multiple US citizens in Kabul trapped behind Taliban checkpoints, who can’t safely reach the US perimeter and have no clear option for what to do,” Haberman wrote on Twitter.