Five people are reported to have been killed as graphic and disturbing videos show chaotic and violent scenes at Kabul airport as the Taliban takes control of the Afghan capital.
Multiple videos uploaded to social media on Monday show chaotic scenes as hundreds of Afghans pile onto planes in an apparent attempt to catch a flight out of the country.
In many clips, the sound of gunfire can be heard, but the source remains unclear.
One witness told Reuters he saw the bodies of five people being taken to a vehicle, while another witness said it was not clear whether the victims were killed by gunshots or in a stampede.
U.S. troops reportedly fired shots into the air to scatter the crowd, a U.S. official said, according to Reuters.
“I feel very scared here. They are firing lots of shots into the air,” one witness told AFP.
Since militants entered the outskirts of Kabul on Sunday, Taliban fighters have been patrolling the city streets.
Meanwhile, the U.S. military has taken over security of the Kabul airport in order to control the evacuation of foreign diplomats and citizens. Earlier, U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price confirmed that the evacuation of American embassy employees to the Kabul Airport had been completed.
The Pentagon also confirmed that the airport has resumed commercial flights suspended over the seizure of the city by Taliban militants.
Early on Sunday, Taliban militants entered the outskirts of Kabul “from all sides,” Afghan officials told Reuters.
کشته شدن چند نفر در میدان هوایی کابل. معلوم نیست درگیری بین چه کسانی رخ داده است. pic.twitter.com/ClOcylG2ip
— Khalifa (@Khalifaevaz) August 16, 2021
The group said it would soon announce the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from the presidential palace, The Associated Press reported.
Smoke was seen near the former U.S. embassy, which had been moved to the airport. Staff destroyed important documents, and the American flag had been lowered. Other Western missions have also prepared to remove personnel, according to AP.
Afghans rushed to leave the nation, as they fear the Taliban could reinstate brutal rule and eliminate women’s rights in the nation. Many poor Afghans had fled to Kabul—home to about 4 million people—for presumed safety, AP reported.
— Natalie Amiri (@NatalieAmiri) August 16, 2021
Power will be handed over to the Taliban peacefully, acting Afghan Interior Minister Abdul Sattar Mirzakwal said. The militants had pledged to not take Kabul by force.
“No one’s life, property and dignity will be harmed and the lives of the citizens of Kabul will not be at risk,” the Taliban said.