Published on :
Tensions are mounting outside Hamid Karzai International Airport, where thousands of Afghans are flocking to try to board a plane to leave the city. Videos show the crowd gathered outside the airport as gunshots are heard. Our Observer, an Afghan student, recounts a scene of despair at one of the airport entrances, where men, women and children tried to pass through barbed wire barriers.
Four days after the Taliban arrived in Kabul, evacuations accelerated. The Taliban have assured that they will let foreigners and Afghans who so wish go. Access to the airport is however difficult, making it difficult to evacuate those who want to leave.
A video posted to Snapchat on August 19, 2021 shows a Taliban checkpoint near Kabul airport.
A video posted to Instagram on August 19, 2021 shows thousands of people at the entrance to Kabul airport as gunshots ring out.
At least 12 people have died at the airport since August 15, according to NATO officials. A Taliban official told Reuters the deaths were caused by shoving or shooting, adding that people who do not have travel permission must return home.
According to witnesses, Taliban officials have prevented people from accessing the airport, although they have documents allowing them to travel in order. According to our Observer, who was at the airport on the morning of August 19, Afghan security forces and US soldiers fired several warning shots.
Videos posted on social media show the chaos outside the airport:
◾️دیروز وزارت خارجه امریکا از همه آنهایی که با ارتش آمریکا همکاری میکردند ، درخواست کرد تا خود را نالبه فکوه را نابه فگوه را نابد فرود
مردم در حالیکه به صورت وحشتناک از سمت طالبان بهشون تیراندازی میشود ، منتظر هستند راهی برای ورود بکه فدردند pic.twitter.com/iF94CY8ycM
– ?setare❣☞⒭⒠⒮⒯⒜⒭⒯❤ (@ VBWdEE0Ohvu3Yw2) August 19, 2021
A video posted to Twitter on August 19, 2021 shows hundreds of people near Kabul airport taking refuge on the sidewalk as gunshots are heard.
Disturbing Scene; this happens almost few times a day in different sides of the Kabul Airport.#kabulairport #Afghanistan#AfghanWomen pic.twitter.com/lGfRzPPvS3
– Aisha Ahmad (@AishaTaIks) August 19, 2021
A video posted to Twitter on August 19, 2021 shows people taking cover as members of the Afghan security forces, who are working with the U.S. military to secure the airport, brandish their weapons. Sounds of gunfire are heard.
“My brothers, please step back behind the barbed wire”
Mahmoud (first name has been changed), an Afghan student, flew to the airport on Thursday hoping to board a commercial flight. He fears being targeted by the Taliban for participating in student exchanges with American universities.
I had a ticket for a commercial flight scheduled for today. I called the airline yesterday [18 août 2021, NDLR] and they told me commercial flights would resume on thursday [19 août, NDLR]. I arrived at the airport around 8 am. There were Taliban checkpoints along the way. They asked me where I was going, I said I was going to the airport. They did not ask me to show any documents. There were no checkpoints on the way to the airport.
When I reached the main entrance to the airport, the gate was closed and there were Taliban fighters in front. They told me to go to the entrance to the military part of the airport, two or three kilometers from the main entrance.
When I got there, I saw American troops and Afghan special forces. The Americans let people in in groups of three or four, lifting the barbed wire. When there was a family, they let all the family members pass.
A video sent to the editorial staff of Observers de France24 by Mahmoud shows a crowd of Afghans in front of a barbed wire fence at Kabul airport. Afghan troops (in dark uniforms, on the right) and American troops (in light uniforms on the left) stand on the other side. Gunshots are heard and a soldier says in Dari: “My brothers, please step back further behind the barbed wire. We can’t let you in, please step back. ”
There were many Afghans hoping to enter. It was really chaotic. Most of them had no valid documents, passports or plane tickets. Some had come with electricity bills. Others had fake visas. There were rumors that American soldiers were letting people pass on fake visas.
American soldiers repeatedly told people to back down. They gave warnings in English, Pashto and Dari, but no one paid attention. Men, women and children continued to press against the barbed wire. I saw people bleeding, torn clothes.
Then I saw the American soldiers fire warning shots in the air, just above our heads. Afghan soldiers also fired. The American soldiers used some sort of “bomb” which made a loud noise and a flash of light, then smoke which made us suffocate. I couldn’t see anything anymore.
I don’t know what to do now. Even if commercial flights resume tomorrow, I will no longer go to the airport if the situation remains the same. It’s too dangerous.
1 thought on “At Kabul airport, barbed wire and gunfire prevent access to the airport”
Comments are closed.