Afghans caught up in the mayhem enveloping Kabul airport have revealed how victims have been shot and savagely beaten by Taliban militants, and trampled to death in the mob. Meanwhile US military jets conduct diving combat landings amid fears of an Islamic State terror attack.
An Afghan family claimed to have witnessed the deaths of more than 15 people, including children, as well as nighttime mob surges outside airport gates and people killed in a stampede. They pleaded: “Please, get us out of here. The situation is very bad, we are trapped in a hell.”
According to a statement issued by the British Ministry of Defence, seven Afghan civilians were killed while attempting to flee the Taliban. “Conditions on the ground remain extremely challenging,” a spokesman added, “but we are doing everything we can to manage the situation as safely and securely as possible.”
Relations between the UK and the US are strained as a result of the withdrawal, with Tony Blair accusing Joe Biden of making the decision with ‘little or no consultation,’ branding the move ‘imbecilic.’ Blair was in Downing Street when London sent troops into Afghanistan 20 years ago in the aftermath of 9/11.
An Afghan woman named Sara, who asked that her real name not be used, told the Observer that families with US visas, passports, and green cards were unable to board evacuation flights or obtain information about their fate because the Taliban had blocked all access points to Kabul airport.
In response to a new, perceived threat from the Islamic State group affiliate in Afghanistan, US military planes have been making rapid, diving combat landings at Kabul airport, while aircraft have fired flares on take-off in an attempt to confuse potential heat-seeking missiles.
Sara said: “It’s so scary here. There’s horror in everyone’s eyes. No one is allowed through, even with visas.”
She added: “No one from the US is helping us. No one is telling us which gate to go to – we don’t even know when the US flights are leaving. There is violence everywhere but every gate we go to is closed and no one gives us any information or shows any mercy.”
A close family friend based in the US added: “The US have told them they can be evacuated, but only if they can get through an airport gate. But every day they have gone to the airport it’s been so crowded and violent, it’s not been possible to get the family through without a huge risk to their lives.”
The situation around Kabul airport has deteriorated, with the Independent reporting that four Afghan women were crushed to death on Saturday – and possibly as many as 12 killed in total – as they attempted to gain access to the airfield from which military repatriation flights depart.
There have been more disturbing reports about the treatment of Britons and Afghans who supported the 20-year intervention and are attempting to flee.
Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy shared a letter she sent Mr Raab about the ‘crisis’ facing evacuees on social media, as she sought additional assistance for those on the ground.
Afghanistan’s Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul has become a hub for thousands of people fleeing the Taliban, who seized power after sweeping into the capital a week ago after an astonishing lightning advance across the Middle Eastern country.
The Taliban blamed the United States on Sunday for the chaotic evacuation of tens of thousands of Afghans and foreigners from the capital, one week after the hardline Islamist group returned to power in a stunning victory.
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