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Chaos at Kabul airport as people flee amid Taliban takeover

Chaos at Kabul airport as people flee amid Taliban takeover

US troops in charge of helping in evacuations at the airport had earlier fired in the air several times to disperse the crowd

People try to get into Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan (Source:Reuters) People try to get into Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan (Source:Reuters)

With thousands of Afghans looking to fly out of Kabul, which has been taken over by Taliban now, there was chaos at the city's airport on Monday, leading to injuries and deaths.

At least five people were reported to be dead as crowds forcibly tried to enter planes leaving from the airport, Reuters reported citing witnesses. However, there is no clarity on the reason behind the deaths.

US troops in charge of helping in evacuations at the airport had earlier fired in the air several times to disperse the crowd. "The crowd was out of control. The firing was only done to defuse the chaos," a US official told Reuters.

Moreover, two people, who had tied themselves to the wheels of an aircraft, fell to their death as the aircraft took off, Tehran Times reported.

The Taliban have declared that the war in Afghanistan is over after its fighters made way into Kabul. President Ashraf Ghani fled the country on Sunday as the insurgents took control of the presidential palace in Kabul.

Even as countries were trying to evacuate their diplomats and citizens from Kabul, commercial flights from the capital were suspended.

Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority (ACAA) said Kabul airspace has been released to the military, advising transit aircraft to reroute, according to a notice to airmen on its website. "There will be no commercial flights from Hamid Karzai Airport to prevent looting and plundering. Please do not rush to the airport," the Kabul airport authority informed.

Major airlines are rerouting their flights to avoid Afghanistan airspace. Earlier, Emirates suspended flights to Kabul until further notice. United Airlines, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic also said they were not using the country's airspace.

India’s national carrier, Air India, on Monday cancelled its only scheduled flight for Kabul from Delhi following the closure of Kabul airspace, and after it was declared "uncontrolled" by authorities at the Kabul airport, senior officials said.

Air India on Sunday afternoon had operated a flight from Delhi to Kabul. The plane held off on landing for nearly two hours while hovering in Afghan airspace as reports of the Taliban entering the gates of Kabul emerged. The flight finally landed around 3:30 pm and took off with 129 passengers, arriving in Delhi at 6:06 pm.

The airline is expected to operate one flight every day. However, the plan can get cancelled due to the latest situation in the country.

Furthermore, Air India’s nonstop flights from US to India are also being diverted so that they do not enter the Afghan airspace.

Edited by Rupashree Ravi

Also Read: Taliban to declare ‘Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’; Afghan Embassy India account hacked

Also Read: Emirates suspends flights to, from Kabul till further notice

Published on: Aug 16, 2021, 5:28 PM IST
Posted by: Mohammad Haaris Beg, Aug 16, 2021, 5:23 PM IST