At least 5 people were killed and several others were injured in firing at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on 16 August. The incident took place when hundreds of people tried to forcibly enter planes leaving the Afghanistan capital, news agency Reuters reported.
It was not clear whether the victims were killed by gunshots or in a stampede. Earlier, reports said US troops fired in the air as a massive crowd mobbed the airport’s tarmac.
Videos shared on different social media platforms showed hordes of Afghan nationals jostling to climb into a plane to fly out of the country. A video taken from the airport showed men climbing atop a staircase and trying to access the crowded jet bridge of an aeroplane.
In a NOTAM (notice to airmen), the authorities said the civilian side of the Hamid Karzai Airport in Kabul had been closed and the airspace over the airport had been released to the military.
Air India has suspended operations over Afghan airspace. All Delhi-Kabul-Delhi flights have also been cancelled.
The United States deployed as many as 6,000 personnel at the Kabul airport to evacuate its diplomats and citizens and those of its allies from Afghanistan. The US military has secured the perimeter of Kabul airport, which is also serving as the acting consulate for some countries such as France.
The development comes a day after the Taliban took control of the capital city of Kabul and declared that war in Afghanistan was over. President Ashraf Ghani fled the country on 15 August, saying he wanted to avoid bloodshed.
China on 16 August said it was willing to develop “friendly relations” with the Taliban after the terror group seized control of Afghanistan, a news agency reported. “China respects the right of the Afghan people to independently determine their own destiny and is willing to continue to develop… friendly and cooperative relations with Afghanistan,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters.
The situation in Afghanistan worsened further on 15 August, as Kabul was taken over by the Taliban. Further, President Ashraf Ghani along with National Security Adviser Hamdullah Muhib and head of the administrative office of President Fazel Mahmood Fazli left Afghanistan for Tajikistan. Some lawmakers have fled to Islamabad, including Speaker of Afghan Parliament, Mir Rahman Rahmani, Younus Qanuni, Muhammad Muhaqeq, Karim Khalili, Ahmad Wali Masoud, and Ahmad Zia Masoud, according to media reports.