Conflicts & War

Thousands of desperate Afghans endlessly wait for evacuation at Kabul airport

Kabul, Aug 18 (EFE).- Thousands of desperate Afghans, including the elderly as well as women and children, have camped outside the Kabul airport for days in the hope of getting evacuated from the country after it was taken over by the Taliban Islamist militia.

The people, waiting in front of the closed gates, have come from all parts of the country – many without a place to stay in Kabul – in a bid to secure an uncertain but peaceful life abroad instead of a life of possible fear and intimidation at home under a fundamentalist regime.

A small number of fortunate ones, who get permission to enter the airport, are pulled over the gates as the security guards refuse to open them to keep the crowd at bay.

Stampedes occur at frequent intervals, causing tens of people to fall unconscious in the crowd amid the hot weather, while their relatives attempt to pull them out to save their lives.

Screams of women and children are incessant.

Foreign and Afghan security forces controlling the gates are often left with no choice but to use brute force to keep the situation under control.

Some of measures they have resorted to are firing shots in the air, and throwing smoke cannons and sonic bombs to disperse the crowd, often causing burns and minor injuries to the people.

“I have lived the most difficult days and nights of my life here,” Bashir Ahmad Buniadi, who has spent three days and nights at the northern military gate of the Hamid Karzai airport with his wife and six children, told EFE on Wednesday.

The 41-year-old tearfully narrated how they were unable to even show their documents to enter the airport as every time they tried to approach the gate, they were pushed back by the security guards.

However, Buniadi expressed readiness to face these “bad moments” of his life in order to try and escape from the “worse” life that lay ahead for them in Afghanistan under the Taliban.

During the previous Taliban regime between 1996-2001, before they were ousted by the US invasion, the country was under strict Islamic or Sharia law with few liberties and freedoms for the people, especially women, who were not allowed to step out of the house without a burqa and an accompanying male guardian or even work or have access to education.

Thousands others like Buniadi could be seen running from one airport gate to the other hoping to find a way in, while Taliban fighters could be seen a few meters away, trying to keep the traffic open along the road amid the chaos.

Many of those attempting to flee carry foreign passports, visas or green cards, while several others have come with noting more than recommendation letters from their erstwhile employers from western nations and some have turned up with Afghan National Identity Cards and electricity bills.

Meanwhile, a gradual change in the atmosphere inside the country was becoming evident with several passersby hurling abuses and insults at those looking to escape abroad.

“Don’t shoot in the air, bring down your gun and kill these traitors, so they understand what are the consequences of treason against the motherland,” shouted a taxi driver from a nearby road.


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