Afghans panic and try to flee Monday after Kabul fell to the Taliban
Wrenching scenes unfolded Monday at Kabul’s airport as thousands of Afghans tried to flee the Taliban takeover of the country, clambering over barriers, thronging the tarmac and even clinging to the side of a U.S. military transport plane before falling off. At least seven people were reported to have died in the chaos.
The American military has taken control of the evacuation of diplomatic staff and allies, in a harrowing capstone on the two-decade U.S. military mission, but the deadly tumult left the airlift effort in crisis. The Taliban controls all land crossings out of the country, and for now, the capital’s airport is the only evacuation route.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby confirmed that two “armed Afghans” were killed by U.S. forces in the vicinity of the airport, and he said he was evaluating reports that at least one American service member was wounded.
A day after the Taliban assumed control of the capital and President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, most people in the capital cowered in their homes, staying out of sight. In the early morning, normally traffic-choked streets were eerily empty as Taliban fighters, many clad in sandals and traditional shalwar kameez, wielded automatic weapons on the streets and in city squares.
Text by Marcus Yam and Laura King.
Photo editing by Jacob Moscovitch.
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