At least 20 died in a week during evacuation at Kabul airport: NATO official

WION Web Team
Kabul Published: Aug 22, 2021, 04:47 PM(IST)

Choas at Kabul airport as Afghans climb on planes Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

Large swathes of crowd have been gathering at the airport for the last one week in a last-ditched effort to fly out of the country amid fears of the return of stringent Sharia law the Taliban used to enforce when it was in power two decades ago.

A NATO official has said at least 20 people have lost their lives at Kabul airport during the evacuation process that began after the Taliban militants seized control of the capital city last week.

“The crisis outside the Kabul airport is unfortunate. Our focus is to evacuate all foreigners as soon as we can,” Reuters quoted the official, who didn’t wish to be named.

Large swathes of crowd have been gathering at the airport for the last one week in a last-ditched effort to fly out of the country amid fears of the return of stringent Sharia law the Taliban used to enforce when it was in power two decades ago.

Several western countries, including US, UK, had to suspend the evacuation process in the face of worsening security situation at the Taliban airport.

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“Our forces are maintaining strict distance from outer areas of the Kabul airport to prevent any clashes with the Taliban,” the NATO official added.

On Saturday, the United States and Germany told their citizens in Afghanistan to avoid travelling to Kabul airport, citing security risks.

Army major general William Taylor told a Pentagon briefing on Saturday that 5,800 US troops remain at the airport and that the facility “remains secure”. Taylor said some gates into the airport were temporarily closed and reopened over the past day to facilitate a safe influx of evacuees.

Australia ran four flights into Kabul on Saturday night, evacuating more than 300 people, including Australians, Afghan visa holders, New Zealanders, US and British citizens, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

 

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