Evacuation scramble continues in Afghan capital - GulfToday

Evacuation scramble continues in Afghan capital


US Marines provide assistance during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on Friday. AFP

Gulf Today Report

The desperation deepened for thousands still scrambling to leave the country via a chaotic evacuation operation in the Afghan capital on Saturday.

Roads leading to Kabul airport were choked with traffic, while families hoping for a miracle escape crowded between the barbed-wire surrounds of an unofficial no man's land separating the Taliban from US troops and remnants of an Afghan special forces brigade helping them.


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Six days after the Taliban swept to power, the flow of people trying to flee continued to overwhelm the international community.

Evacuee children wait for the next flight after being manifested at Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul. Reuters

The desperate scenes of people clinging to aircraft taking off from Kabul’s airport have only deepened Europe’s anxiety over a potential refugee crisis. The U.S. and its NATO allies are scrambling to evacuate thousands of Afghans who fear they’ll be punished by the Taliban for having worked with Western forces. But other Afghans are unlikely to get the same welcome.

Even Germany, which since 2015 has admitted more Syrians than any other Western nation, is sending a different signal today.

Video of a US soldier lifting a baby over a wall at Kabul's airport offered the latest imagery of the utter despair, following horror footage of people hanging onto the outside of departing planes.

"Please, please, please help me... where should I go, what should I do," one man, who said he worked for the US embassy in the mid-2000s, wrote on a WhatsApp group set up for people to share information on how to get out.

A US Marine grabbing an infant over a fence of barbed wire during an evacuation at Kabul airport on August 19. AFP

"I have tried to get there (to the airport) for some days, but I cannot reach. Please save me."

The crisis has cast another shadow over the United States' status as a global superpower and its ability to help allies around the world.

"The situation in Afghanistan was intense,” said one young man, Hassan Khan. "The Taliban captured the whole of Afghanistan. But there is no work in Afghanistan, we were compelled to come here.”

Observers say there are no indications yet of any mass movement across the border. Turkish authorities say they have intercepted 35,000 Afghans entering the country illegally so far this year, compared with over 50,000 in all of 2020 and more than 200,000 in 2019.



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