Not 640, but 823 people were taken on board by the American C-17 transport, which took off from the Kabul airport after the Taliban entered the Afghan capital. The new data was provided by the Transport Aviation Command. The load was record-breaking for this machine.
“The C-17 Globemaster III safely transported 823 Afghan citizens from Hamid Karzai International Airport. This is a record for this aircraft. The initial number of 640 incidentally included only adults. There were also 183 children on board” – the US Air Transport Command said in a Friday post on Twitter .
On Sunday, after the Taliban entered Kabul, thousands of people tried to escape from the city. They gathered on the tarmac. Hundreds of Afghans boarded the C-17 transport plane bound for Qatar. They got inside the machine through the half lowered ramp.
Children on board too
Forbes magazine, based on the recorded conversation of the flight controller, reported that the pilot was to inform about 800 people on board the C-17, adapted to transport 134 soldiers and equipment. Later, a US representative told Defense One that 640 Afghan civilians were counted on board after the aircraft number landed.
The U.S. Air Transport Command revised this figure on Friday, saying it only affected adults and not 183 children.
Defense One recalled in Friday’s publication that the transport crew faced a difficult choice: try to force the Afghans to leave the plane and line up in the waiting line, or let as many people as possible board and fly away.
Colonel Eric Kut, quoted by Defense One, said that the lives of many people, including women and children, were at stake, not rules and regulations.
Also on Friday, the Reuters agency reported that nearly nine thousand people had been evacuated from Afghanistan by the US military since August 14. On Thursday, the US figure reached about three thousand.
Reuters, Forbes, Defense One
Main photo source: Defense one