Shocking scenes continue to emerge from Afghanistan after “chaos” erupted at Kabul International Airport, both from a stampede on the tarmac and horror from the sky.
As the Taliban claims victory over the country, thousands of terrified residents have been desperately attempting a final bid to flee, with US troops forced to fire shots into the air as thousands of Afghans crowded onto the tarmac.
At least three deaths have been reported from the scene as residents try to flee the group’s feared hard line brand of Islamist rule.
The Taliban were reportedly “barely 100 metres away” with local sources claiming the group were stopping more people from entering the airport.
“Hundreds of people are sitting at the runway refusing to leave in the hope of flying out of the hell,” Sudhir Chaudary reported.
As a US Air Force transport plane attempted to take off, the C-17 was seen taxiing as an Apache helicopter tried to remove Afghans from the runway.
But it seems more desperate measures were taken.
Shortly after the scenes from the gangway emerged, footage showed Afghans clamouring onto the side of the USAFC-17 and clinging on to its undercarriage as it struggled down the tarmac.
Subsequent footage also emerged showing people falling from the sky.
Online reports indicate at least 12 people were seen holding onto the landing gear as the plane took off. It appears most of those were men.
Subsequent footage posted by Aśvaka News Agency, based in Kabul, showed bodies tumbling as the plane took off, and further bodies falling from the sky.
Footage taken in Khairkahana, in the north west of Kabul, showed locals collecting bodies of at least three men who were “clinging to the wheels”. It is believed the bodies fell “on top of people’s homes”.
“One of the locals confirmed this and said that the fall of these people made a loud and terrifying noise,” Aśvaka News Agency said.
There is no official confirmation on whether all incidents are linked.
In a statement, Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the “situation on the ground in Kabul, as in the rest of Afghanistan, is evolving rapidly”. She confirmed over 130 Australians are still in Afghanistan, working in the UN, NGOs, and elsewhere, and we are working to bring them and their families home.
As thousands mobbed the airport, victorious Taliban fighters patrolled Kabul after a stunningly swift end to Afghanistan’s 20-year war
President Ashraf Ghani flew out of the country overnight as the insurgents encircled the capital, capping a military victory that saw them capture all cities in just 10 days.
“The Taliban have won with the judgement of their swords and guns, and are now responsible for the honour, property and self-preservation of their countrymen,” Mr Ghani said afterwards.
After police and other government forces gave up their posts in Kabul on Sunday, Taliban fighters took over checkpoints across the city and entered the presidential palace.
Militants with rifles slung over their shoulders also walked through the streets of the Green Zone, the formerly heavily fortified district that houses most embassies and international organisations.
The Taliban sought to reassure the international community that Afghans should not fear them, and said they will not take revenge against those who supported the US-backed alliance.
In a message posted to social media, Taliban co-founder Abdul Ghani Baradar called on his fighters to remain disciplined after taking control of the city.
“Now it’s time to test and prove, now we have to show that we can serve our nation and ensure security and comfort of life,” he said.
The Taliban’s capture of the capital had occurred, as in many other cities, without the bloodshed that many had feared