Scenes of chaos at Kabul airport after Taliban seize control of Afghanistan

·Senior Writer
·3 min read

Chaotic scenes unfolded at Kabul's airport on Monday as thousands of people rushed the tarmac in desperate attempts to flee Afghanistan following a takeover by the Taliban, which swept into the capital in a stunningly swift overthrow of the Western-backed government.

Map shows areas controlled by Taliban in orange. (AP)
Map shows areas controlled by Taliban in orange. (AP)

Videos posted to social media from Hamid Karzai International Airport showed Afghans clinging to a departing U.S. Air Force C-17 transport plane. Others showed people falling from the wheel well of a jet just before takeoff.

Other planes were seen overloaded with Afghans who flooded across the runway to board them.

Afghan people climb atop a plane at the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Monday. (Photo by Wakil Koshar/AFP via Getty Images)
People climb atop a plane at the airport in Kabul on Monday. (Wakil Koshar/AFP via Getty Images)

U.S. troops stationed at the airport fired warning shots as they struggled to manage the evacuations of Americans and Afghans fearful of Taliban rule.

A U.S. soldier points his gun towards an Afghan passenger at the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Monday. (Photo by Wakil Koshar/AFP via Getty Images)
A U.S. soldier points his gun toward an Afghan passenger at the Kabul airport on Monday. (Wakil Koshar/AFP via Getty Images)

At least seven people died at the airport during the chaos, the Associated Press reported.

A volunteer carries an injured man as other people can be seen waiting at the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Monday. (Photo by Wakil Koshar/AFP via Getty Images)
A volunteer carries an injured man at the Kabul airport. (Wakil Koshar/AFP via Getty Images)

The Taliban seized control of Kabul on Sunday after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country and Afghanistan's Western-trained security forces collapsed.

A member of Taliban forces inspects the area outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday.
A member of Taliban forces inspects the area outside the Kabul airport. (Reuters)

The Pentagon said it would send an additional 1,000 troops to Afghanistan to join 5,000 U.S. troops there because of the worsening security conditions on the ground. The U.S. Embassy was evacuated Sunday, with diplomats relocating to the airport.

President Biden, who spent the weekend at Camp David, was not seen in public. On Sunday the White House tweeted a photo of the president in an empty conference room receiving updates on the departure of American personnel via video.

Biden is facing mounting criticism for his handling of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, with many comparing it to the fall of Saigon in 1975.

In a lengthy statement Saturday, Biden defended his decision to pull out.

“I was the fourth president to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan,” he said. “I would not, and will not, pass this war onto a fifth.”

Hundreds of people run alongside a U.S. Air Force C-17 transport plane as it moves down a runway of the international airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Aug.16. 2021.  (Verified UGC via AP)
Hundreds of people run alongside a U.S. Air Force C-17 transport plane as it moves down a runway of the international airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Aug.16. 2021. (Verified UGC via AP)
Hundreds of people run alongside a U.S. Air Force C-17 transport plane, some climbing on the plane, as it moves down a runway of the international airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Aug.16. 2021.  (Verified UGC via AP)
Hundreds of people run alongside a U.S. Air Force C-17 transport plane, some climbing on the plane, as it moves down a runway of the international airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Aug.16. 2021. (Verified UGC via AP)
A man pulls a girl to get inside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan August 16, 2021. (Reuters)
A man pulls a girl to get inside the Kabul airport. (Reuters)
Women with their children try to get inside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan August 16, 2021. (Reuters)
Women and children rush to get inside the Kabul airport. (Reuters)
Afghans (L) crowd at the airport as US soldiers stand guard in Kabul on August 16, 2021. (Shakib RahmaniAFP via Getty Images)
Afghans crowd at the Kabul airport as U.S. soldiers stand guard. (Shakib RahmaniAFP via Getty Images)
Afghan passengers sit as they wait to leave the Kabul airport in Kabul on August 16, 2021. (Wakil Kohsar/AFP via Getty Images)
Passengers wait to leave the airport. (Wakil Kohsar/AFP via Getty Images)
Afghans crowd at the tarmac of the Kabul airport on August 16, 2021, to flee the country as the Taliban were in control of Afghanistan after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country and conceded the insurgents had won the 20-year war. (AFP via Getty Images)
People at the airport waiting to flee the country. (AFP via Getty Images)
Afghan passengers sit inside a plane as they wait to leave the Kabul airport in Kabul on August 16, 2021. (Wakil Kohsar /AFP via Getty Images)
Passengers wait for their plane to leave Kabul. (Wakil Kohsar /AFP via Getty Images)
Afghan people climb up on a plane and sit by the door as they wait at the Kabul airport in Kabul on August 16, 2021. (Wakil Kohsar /AFP via Getty Images)
People wait in a plane at the Kabul airport. (Wakil Kohsar /AFP via Getty Images)

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