Kabul airport: Five dead as Afghans try to flee Taliban takeover

Aug 16, 2021: At least five people were killed at Kabul’s airport on Monday as Afghans raced to flee the country while the Taliban consolidated its grip on the country, according to witnesses.

One witness said he had seen the bodies of five people being taken to a vehicle. Another witness said it was not clear whether the victims were killed by gunshots or in a stampede.

U.S. troops, who are in charge of the airport, earlier fired in the air to scatter the crowd, a U.S. official said.

Officials at the US Central Command weren’t immediately available for comment.

A US official told Reuters News Agency earlier that forces fired in the air at the airport to prevent hundreds of civilians running onto the tarmac.

Hundreds of Afghans have jammed the airport trying to get out of the country after Taliban insurgents entered the capital on Sunday.

US troops are in charge at the airport, helping in the evacuation of embassy staff and other civilians.

On the other hand, Emirates has cancelled all flights to and from Kabul and Pakistan International Airlines has suspended its emergency evacuation flight operation due to the deteriorating security situation.

According to the PIA spokesperson, the decision was taken due to lack of full security and airport staff at Kabul airport and crowds on the runway. The PIA made the decision after consulting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Afghan Civil Aviation.  PIA said flights have been postponed indefinitely to protect passengers, crew and assets.

It should be noted that after the Taliban took control of Kabul, the PIA had announced to run additional flights for the evacuation of citizens from Afghanistan. There are those who want to leave Afghanistan, PIA had announced that 3 flights would go to Kabul on Monday, August 16. A total of about 900 Pakistanis and other foreigners would be evacuated from Kabul by three flights.

PIA through Pakistani Foreign Ministry they had also sought permission for more special flights from Kabul, but now the operation has been postponed due to the security uncertainty.

Meanwhile, major airlines are rerouting flights to avoid Afghanistan’s airspace after the Taliban took control of the presidential palace in Kabul as US-led forces departed and Western nations scrambled to evacuate their citizens.

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