Contrary to earlier declarations, the Taliban, who control access to the US military airport in Kabul, do not let people authorized to evacuate, the Reuters agency reported. “They shoot into the air, push people and beat them with rifle butts,” said one of the people trying to get to the airport. The United States demands free access to the airport for fugitives.
– It’s a complete disaster. The Taliban are shooting into the air, pushing people and beating them with AK-47 rifle butts, one person told Reuters who tried to break into an airport occupied by US forces. All access roads to the airport are controlled by the Taliban. Citizens of Western countries and Afghans fleeing the Taliban are being evacuated from the airport.
“We don’t want to hurt anyone at the airport,” an anonymous Taliban official said Thursday, explaining that the shots in the air were only intended to disperse the crowd. He also called on all those gathered around the airport who do not have the appropriate travel documents to go home. He added that 12 people have died at the airport since Sunday, who were shot or trampled in the chaos prevailing there.
US deputy chief diplomat: Taliban block Afghans’ way to the airport
In recent days, the Taliban has repeatedly declared that they will enable safe departure from the country for all those willing and will not take revenge on Afghans cooperating with the pro-Western coalition. According to the Reuters agency, the armed Taliban who have established checkpoints around the airport do not even let people who have the necessary travel documents pass through them.
– According to our information, the Taliban, contrary to their declarations and commitments made to our government, are blocking the way to the airport for Afghans who want to leave the country – said the US deputy head of diplomacy Wendy Sherman. We expect the Taliban not to harass Americans, Afghans and citizens of other countries who want to leave the country and allow them to evacuate safely, she emphasized.
US Department of Defense officials admitted on Wednesday night that the 4,500 American soldiers at the airport are focused on securing it and are unable to help protect the people going to the airport.
In front of the fence protecting the British camp at the airport, crowds of desperate people are gathering under the watchful eye of Taliban fighters, trying to get out of Afghanistan, describes a reporter for Sky News. The situation is very difficult, we cannot let people without proper documents pass, we have no choice – explains an officer of the British army. Before my eyes, whole terrified families are being sent back, often with young children – reports the journalist. The officer tells that the desperate women tried to throw small children through the barbed wire, asking them to take them out of the country.
About 5,000 citizens of Western countries and Afghans threatened by the Taliban have been deported from Kabul over the past 24 hours. The evacuation continues all the time.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / STRINGER