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Over 600 panic-stricken Afghans cramped in a US military plane: A tell-all photo of Taliban's fear

Photos of the US Air Force's C-17 Globemaster III with hundreds of Afghans sitting on the floor of the aircraft without any luggage have been shared widely on social media.

India TV News Desk India TV News Desk
New Delhi Updated on: August 18, 2021 18:37 IST
Afghans flee country in US military plane
Image Source : @DEFENSEONE

Afghans flee country in US military plane

Thousands of Afghans rushed into Kabul's main airport Monday, some so desperate to escape the Taliban that they held onto a military jet as it took off and plunged to their deaths.

Out of those, over 600 managed to fly out in a US Air Force transport plane at the last minute. Photos of the US Air Force's C-17 Globemaster III with hundreds of Afghans sitting on the floor of the aircraft without any luggage have been shared widely on social media.

According to media reports, the transport aircraft took a total of 640 Afghans, believed to be among the most people ever flown in the C-17. This aircraft flew to Qatar, where the Afghans disembarked.

At least seven people died in the chaos, US officials said, as America's longest war ended with its enemy the victor.

Desperate scenes at Kabul airport as hundreds try to board plane after Taliban takeover | VIDEO

The crowds came while the Taliban enforced their rule over the capital of 5 million people after a lightning advance across the country that took just over a week to dethrone the country's Western-backed government. There were no major reports of abuses or fighting, but many residents stayed home and remained fearful after the insurgents' advance saw prisons emptied and armories looted.

The last American troops had planned to withdraw at the end of the month.

As the US military and others continued evacuation flights, Afghans swarmed over the international airport's tarmac. Some climbed into aircraft parked on the taxiway, while others dangled precariously off a jet bridge. US troops took positions to guard the active runway, but the crowd stormed past them and their armored vehicles. Gunshots rang out.

Videos showed a group of Afghans hanging onto the plane just before takeoff and several falling through the air as the airplane rapidly gained altitude over the city.

All flights at the airport — both military and civilian — were halted until Afghan civilians can be cleared from the runway, Kirby added.

Afghanistan is now under Taliban control. The government forces collapsed without the support of the US military, which invaded in 2001 after the September 11 attacks and toppled the Taliban for its support of Al Qaeda.

ALSO WATCH | VIDEO: When group of Afghan Air Force pilots fled to Uzbekistan in 2 helicopter

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