Seven people are reportedly dead at the Kabul airport as U.S. military evacuation flights are reportedly set to resume Monday after they were temporarily stalled.
Senior U.S. military officials told The Associated Press (AP) seven individuals were dead after large crowds of Afghans rushed the tarmac as flights attempted to take off.
The U.S. military suspended evacuations as they attempted to control the crowd, Reuters reported. Several individuals could be seen rushing the large plane, trying to cling onto the side as it began rolling down the runway. One video posted to Twitter purportedly shows at least one person falling off the wheel of a plane as it ascends.
Kabul: people who tied themselves to the plane wheels – fell off the plane pic.twitter.com/Lm5YDbizlw
— Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) August 16, 2021
Crowds of people desperate to escape Afghanistan stormed Kabul’s international airport, rushing onto the tarmac.
— The New York Times (@nytimes) August 16, 2021
It is unclear how the seven individuals died, but the AP reported at least one of the deaths was as a result of an individual falling off the wheel of a plane that was ascending. (RELATED: Americans Are Trapped Behind Taliban Checkpoints, Have No Clear Path To US Perimeter, According To Tom Cotton’s Office)
U.S. troops shot and killed two armed individuals who approached troops at the airport, CBS News reported, though it is unclear if those two reported deaths are part of the seven total count.
A senior defense official told Reuters all flights were temporarily stopped because the runways were not clear and the airport was unsecured.
The US military has suspended air operations at the Kabul airport while troops try to clear the airfield of Afghans who flooded the tarmac, per @barbarastarrcnn. Biden’s national security advisers have made clear this a.m. they don’t consider the airport secure right now.
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) August 16, 2021
A defense official told CBS News’ David Martin the runway was set to reopen and two C-17’s were waiting to land, according to White House reporter Kathryn Watson.
Afghans are desperate to flee the nation as the Taliban regains control. The Taliban has said dissidents and those who fought against the Taliban will not be harmed, but Afghans are reportedly fearful the retribution will come in weeks.
“Everyone is worried,” a former Afghanistan employee who is hiding in Kabul said, according to Reuters. “They’re not targeting people yet but the will, that’s the reality. Maybe in two or three weeks, that’s why people are fighting to get out now.”