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'One of the Saddest Images' Out of Afghanistan

People at Kabul's airport are desperate to get out
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 16, 2021 6:32 AM CDT

(Newser) – The dire situation in Afghanistan might be demonstrated most clearly by scenes at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. The BBC's Nicola Careem tweeted this video Monday of people jamming a bridge to a parked jet in hopes of getting out. "This is, perhaps, one of the saddest images I've seen from Afghanistan," she wrote. " A people who are desperate and abandoned. No aid agencies, no UN, no government. Nothing." The Wall Street Journal reports that at least three people were killed by gunfire at the airport, though more details were not immediately clear. Reuters has the airport death toll at five, but it notes that some may have been the victim of a stampede. Witnesses reported seeing bodies on the ground outside the airport's terminal.

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The US military has taken over security at the airport, and Marines fired warning shots into the air Sunday night amid the chaos. (This video shows the crowds Sunday night.) Commercial flights have been canceled, though CNN reports that evacuation flights organized by governments were taking off. That includes several US C-17 military transport planes—the US says all staff at its embassy have been evacuated to the airport, per the BBC—as well as a large jet from the Turkish government. Afghan civilians desperate to leave the country continue to flock to the airport. “No one can really leave,” Kamal Alam, a nonresident affiliated with the Atlantic Council, tells the CNBC. His own flight out was canceled. “If you don’t have a visa or passport, which the majority of Afghans don’t, you’re not going.” (Read more Afghanistan stories.)

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