On Monday (August 16) night, thousands of Afghan citizens were seen gathering at the Hamid Karzai international airport as Taliban terrorists took over the capital of Afghanistan.
Daily Mail reported that Afghans fled from their homes to the airport with large suitcases to avoid persecution at the hands of the Taliban. A situation of chaos broke out at the airport with over-crowding of citizens and non-existent security. Passengers were also seen waiting at the tarmac of the airport in long queues in the hopes of leaving the country at the earliest.
Hamid Karzai international airport. 16 August, 2021. pic.twitter.com/LXsAQPpFXG— BILAL SARWARY (@bsarwary) August 15, 2021
Videos have now surfaced on social media that vividly capture the panic and desperation of the local Afghans trying to flee the country.
On the morning of 16 August, the situation at Kabul International Airport looked worse. Hundreds of people were seen hurrying along on a rather empty tarmac, falling over themselves to board a plane. Visuals were shared by BBC journalist Nicola Kareem.
Germany, US evacuate embassy members and citizens
However, far from evacuating the displaced people, the US embassy channelised its energy on the evacuation of its embassy staff to the Kabul international airport. A total of 6000 troops were sent to facilitate the evacuation process. “We can confirm that the safe evacuation of all Embassy personnel is now complete. All Embassy personnel are located on the premises of Hamid Karzai International Airport, whose perimeter is secured by the US Military,” US State Department Ned Price
The US says all its embassy staff have been evacuated to Kabul international airport— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) August 16, 2021
The country has sent around 6,000 troops to assist with the evacuation process
For more live updates ⬇️https://t.co/nrHviYUjG6
A video shared by journalist Jack Posobiec showed how a US chopper left for the Kabul airport from the US embassy. The scenes at Kabul were reminiscent of how the United States embassy staff fled Saigon on choppers in 1975.
Last US chopper leaves Kabul embassy in Afghanistan pic.twitter.com/Pp62EkM2LA— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) August 15, 2021
DPA News agency reported that besides the United States, the German citizens in Kabul are also being evacuated. In the wee hours of Monday, German citizens left the war-torn country and safely landed in Doha on a US aircraft.
#BREAKING The evacuation of German citizens from Kabul has begun, with staff from Berlin’s Kabul embassy arriving in Doha in the early hours of Monday on a US aircraft, dpa has learned pic.twitter.com/NTliFDPDTh— dpa news agency (@dpa_intl) August 16, 2021
French govt vows to help local Afghans who helped the armed forces
In a statement, the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian said, “In light of the extremely rapid deterioration in the security situation in Afghanistan, the French authorities have decided to relocate our Embassy to Kabul Airport; it remains in operation and is actively proceeding with the evacuation of any of our compatriots still left in the country. The Embassy and the Crisis and Support Center of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs are in touch with all French nationals of whom they are aware in Afghanistan.”
It further added, “The methodical evacuation of our citizens has been underway for weeks, and a special flight was specifically chartered on July 16 following numerous calls by the Ministry urging our nationals to leave the country. France does not forget those who have worked for her. Since May, thanks to early planning and forecasting over recent months, Afghan employees of
French entities in Afghanistan who could be in danger have been welcomed by our country, together with their families. More than 600 people have been taken in hand by the Ministry of the Interior, in conjunction with local governments and associations who partner with us.”
This is the French ambassador leaving Kabul’s Green Zone. Macron is convening a defense council meeting.— Aaron Nye (@anogy) August 16, 2021
Is France about to ‘act’ while the US president is getting his butt wiped at Camp David? If you still defend the Biden administration, I have to assume you’re a dolt or evil pic.twitter.com/238jxevU56
The statement said that France will welcome the local civilians and their families who helped the French armed forces, including 1350 Afghans since 2013. “Despite the rapid pace of events, France intends to do its utmost to continue protecting members of Afghan civil society, rights workers, artists and journalists who are in particular danger due to their activities. Everything is currently being done to maintain — to the greatest possible extent — our capacity to issue visas at Kabul Airport, with the help of reinforcements, and enable them to evacuate. France is proving its solidarity with all those who defend freedom,” the statement concluded.
Taliban takes over Kabul in Afghanistan
After a month-long offensive against the Afghan army, terrorists associated with the Islamist outfit Taliban finally reached the gates of Kabul on Sunday (August 15). In a statement, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid stated, “Declaration of the Islamic Emirate not to fight in Kabul Praise be to God that with the help of God Almighty and the broad support of our people, all parts of the country have come under the control of the Islamic Emirate. However, since the capital Kabul is a large and densely populated city, the Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate do not intend to enter the city by force or war, but rather to enter Kabul peacefully.”
He further added, “Negotiations are underway to ensure that the transition process is completed safely and securely, without compromising the lives, property, and honour of anyone, and without compromising the lives of Kabulis. The Islamic Emirate instructs all its forces to stand at the gates of Kabul, not to try to enter the city. Also, until the completion of the transition process, the security of Kabul city is referred to the other side, which must be maintained.” President Ashraf Ghani had relinquished his position and has reportedly fled the country.
It is being speculated that Taliban commander Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar will become the new President of Afghanistan under the Taliban regime, while US-based Ali Ahmad Jalali will head an interim government for the time being before the Taliban forms a full-fledged government.