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Global Times

At least five dead at Kabul airport crowds; US evacuation planes take off from scrambling Afghans

Global Times

By GT staff reporters Published: Aug 16, 2021 10:16 PM

As supporters of US military operations in Afghanistan scramble to board America's planes to leave Kabul as Afghan Taliban quickly took control of the capital, US troops opened fire to Afghan civilians to clear the runway for the taking off of its planes.

A stampede inside the Kabul airport on Monday also left some people dead or injured. At least five deaths have been reported at the airport as of Monday night, according to media.

Gunshots were heard in videos taken at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on Monday. As hundreds tried to forcibly enter planes to leave Afghanistan, many fell in a stampede.

At least 5 were killed in the chaos on Monday, Reuters reported. It was not clear whether the victims were killed by gunshots or in a stampede.

After Kabul fell to the Taliban on Sunday, a large number of civilians began mass migration amid fear. On Monday, all commercial flights from Kabul's airport had been cancelled, according to a statement from Afghanistan's civil aviation authority.

The agency noted that the massive rush of passengers to the airport in the chaotic situation could lead to looting and other disorderly situations.

Media reported that the airport has been under control of the US army, as thousands of Americans, foreign nationals, and Afghans jostled to leave the country. Over 5,000 US soldiers had been sent to Kabul to help evacuate US diplomats and Afghan allies in the past few days.

"Over the last 48 hours, we have doubled the number of military personnel in Afghanistan that we just withdrew — but only to facilitate a disgraceful exit that will cap off a total failure," US Senator Jim Inhofe said in a statement on Sunday.

After nearly two decades of chaos in Afghanistan, the US government yet again refused to take responsibility for the moment, reflecting more clearly the overall failure of US policy in Afghanistan, experts noted to the Global Times.

The US military is still selfishly sticking to the so-called "America First" in the current chaotic situation in Afghanistan, instead of providing humanitarian assistance, Qian Feng, director of the Research Department of the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times on Monday.

"The US is willing to cause more casualties in order to guarantee the priority evacuation of its troops and diplomats, making the situation more chaotic," Qian noted.

The current emergency evacuation of US troops from Kabul recreated the "Saigon moment" in 1975, when the US withdrew from Vietnam in disarray, Qian said, "but in a more brutal and undignified way."

At present, the US government still has no responsibility to speak of, which has more clearly demonstrated the overall failure of US policy in Afghanistan," Qian said.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zajarova criticized the US response to Afghans seeking evacuation through the airport in Kabul, a response that goes against their promise to guarantee aid and protect human rights.

Afghans are attacking planes and asking Washington, which for so many years claimed to be their ally, to save them… But the US' answer is silence, Zakharova wrote in her Telegram account, RT reported.

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