Desperate Afghans cling to planes as U.S. abandons them at Kabul’s airport


Less than 24 hours after the Taliban regained power in Afghanistan, scenes of chaotic desperation played out at Kabul’s main airport as people climbed onto the wings and sides of departing military jets and clambered up gangplanks to try to get onto the last flights out of the capital.

Sami Yousafzai, Syed Fazl-e-Haider, Barbie Latza Nadeau

At least five people were reported killed after the U.S. military, which has control of the airport, opened fire. It was yet unclear on Monday if they were shot by a stray bullet or crushed in a panicked stampede.

At least five people were reported killed after the U.S. military, which has control of the airport, opened fire. It was yet unclear on Monday if they were shot by a stray bullet or crushed in a panicked stampede.

People try to get into Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan August 16, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer 

Several people also appeared to be jet wings as they took off. The Washington Post analyzed video posted on social media that showed at least one person falling from the sky and landing on a rooftop as the jet ascended.

An Afghan journalist who worked with American media—and who is therefore almost assuredly in the Taliban’s sights—told The Daily Beast as gunfire echoed in the background that he and eight family members had been trying to get out of Kabul since before the city fell. “There is fear and panic among everyone: men, women, children desperate to get out,” he said. “There is zero chance to do so but still people rushing to airport.”

Desperate people try to get into Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan August 16, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer

The journalist, who The Daily Beast is not naming to protect his safety, described watching U.S. military helicopters buzz the tarmac to scare off crowds who risked being crushed by landing aircraft. Hundreds more people chased jets down the runway as massive jets filled with the lucky ones departed.

Latest scenes from #KabulAirport as Afghan civilians swarm a @KamairRQ plane in the civilian side of the airport, hoping to be evacuated.

It is unlikely that the plane will be permitted to take off, as all planes are taking off from the military side.

A US soldier (C) points his gun towards an Afghan passenger at the airport in Kabul, where chaotic scenes unfolded after the Taliban took over the country  Wakil KOHSAR AFP

The journalist was being aided by his main publication, but said he did not feel optimistic he would make the cut. He said he saw two corpses on the tarmac, but he wasn’t sure exactly how they died.

On Sunday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken made the rounds on morning TV, repeating the Biden administration that, “This is manifestly not Saigon.” Kimberley Motley, an international human-rights lawyer who spent 13 years in Afghanistan, told The Wall Street Journal instead, “This is like Saigon on steroids.”

Taliban forces patrol a street in Herat, Afghanistan August 14, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES

The Taliban, meanwhile, worked to cover up any images of women on billboards and storefronts, essentially erasing progress that had been made in the last two decades. CNN’s Clarissa Ward was interviewing Taliban fighters on the street when she was told blatantly to step to the side. “It’s because I’m a woman,” the veteran war correspondent, who has reported from the country on numerous occasions, said as she complied.

CNN’s @clarissaward reports on what Afghanistan looks like as the Taliban take over.

Images of evacuations and chaos filled social media. One video, showing U.S. military dogs being escorted to an awaiting jet, drew scorn from Afghan citizens who seemed to suddenly realize their place on the pecking order despite many risking their lives to help the U.S.-backed efforts.

The evacuation of US military dogs from the Kabul airport is more important than the the Afghans who worked with the US military

A Taliban spokesperson told CNN that they would leave the Kabul airport under U.S. control—at least for the moment. They want to ensure that all foreigners get out of their country, they said. They likely also know that the U.S. would not hesitate to return any fire aimed at them, and even though the militant group now has a substantial military power from the spoils of war, they are no match for the American troops still on the ground.

A senior official in Afghanistan’s now-defunct government told The Daily Beast that he was frustrated by the international community’s response and its near total abandonment. “The fall of Kabul dishonors the sacrifice of over 150,000 Afghan lives, over 3,000 of NATO soldiers’ lives, 20 years of reconstruction efforts and over a trillion U.S. dollars,” he said. “It is the beginning of hopelessness and bottomless uncertainty for the long suffering Afghans. May Allah protect us because all the worldly superpowers came, killed us, failed and left us in lurch.”




6 responses to “Desperate Afghans cling to planes as U.S. abandons them at Kabul’s airport”

  1. This is an aerial documentary of one of the Afghans who linked himself to the American plane that took off from Kabul

  2. This is a great lesson for people all over the world .
    Always guard your sovereignty freedom and independence
    never allow any country to occupy you , no matter how good or bad that country is
    They will always treat their dogs better than you .
    I hope Hezbollah supporters read this article and learn a lesson from it .
    The Iranian occupation of Lebanon thru Hezbollah will lead to the same result one day .
    Iran will treat its dogs better than the people of Lebanon.
    Occupiers are always ungrateful by nature .
    All they want to do is use you today when they need you and abuse you tomorrow when they don’t need you anymore

    Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh declared himself president and called on Afghans to join the resistance.
    In his Twitter, Saleh wrote: “According to the Afghan Constitution, in the absence, escape, resignation or death of the president, the first vice president becomes interim president. Currently, I am in my country and am the legal interim president. I contact all leaders. to enlist their support and consent. ”
    He also called on citizens to resist the Taliban. “Unlike the US and NATO, we have not lost the spirit and see great opportunities ahead. Join the resistance,” he wrote

  4. The New Taliban / 2021 Version
    It seems that the Taliban has learned a thing or two since his previous reign and decided to act differently this time when it comes to foreign relations with the world.
    The Taliban does not want to be an internationally isolated government again and already, through its official spokesman, is sending conciliatory messages aimed at reassuring world public opinion about how it is going to rule Afghanistan this time.
    Make no mistake. It will be a rule based on Islamic Sharia, yet the Taliban have come to understand that in order to hold power for a long time, it is worthwhile to have better relations with the outside world.
    For example, the organization announced last week that it does not intend to enter the capital Kabul in a violent way, but is interested in accepting power in an orderly manner and without a fight.
    The organization published its doctrine regarding the status of women and explained that it is better for her to go out to work and that she can leave home without escorts. (This may still sound extreme to you but in Saudi Arabia for example, until a year ago and some woman could not leave the house for a certain distance unaccompanied by her husband / brother / father, so in Taliban terms this is a real progressive event).
    Today the organization announced that it is applied to anyone who acted against it and as part of the pardon no account settlements will be made. The organization claims it is not interested in war.
    The organization has announced that it is not interested in attacking the Americans. Representatives of the organization met with senior U.S. military officials as part of the “change of government arrangements.”
    No battles are seen on the streets of Kabul.
    The extremist Sunni organization, so far at least, treats its Shiite subjects respectfully and allows them freedom of worship.
    Whether or not the organization meets all the promises it has been announcing in recent days, a learning graph can certainly be discerned. The 2021 Taliban seems to be a much more advanced version than the version we knew before

    1. Taliban In Reality : In Faryab province, gunmen killed a mother of four for refusing to cook food (, and in Takhar province for not wearing a veil (

  5. A heartbreaking moment photographed on a airfield fence in Kabul
    A baby is passed from hand to hand between those trying to enter the airfield to escape from the Taliban.
    They allegedly asked the soldiers to take him “for a better future than he expects in Afghanistan, because his whole family is in the West” and indeed one of the soldiers takes him from them

Leave a Reply