Gunfire at Kabul airport kills 1 amid chaotic evacuations

1 month ago 14
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KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A firefight astatine 1 of the gates of Kabul’s planetary airdrome killed astatine slightest 1 Afghan worker aboriginal Monday, German officials said, the latest chaos to engulf Western efforts to evacuate those fleeing the Taliban takeover of the country.

The shooting astatine the airdrome came arsenic the Taliban sent fighters northbound of the superior to destruct pockets of equipped absorption to their lightning takeover earlier this month. The Taliban said they retook 3 districts seized by opponents the time earlier and had surrounded Panjshir, the past state that remains retired of their control.

Afghanistan’s information forces collapsed successful the look of the Taliban advance, contempt 20 years of Western aid, grooming and assistance. Tens of thousands of Afghans person sought to fly the state since, fearing a instrumentality to the brutal regularisation the Taliban imposed the past clip they ran Afghanistan. That has led to chaos astatine the airdrome successful Kabul, the main way retired of the country, wherever immoderate Afghan troops are assisting Western evacuation efforts.

Gunfire broke retired adjacent 1 of the airport’s gates, wherever astatine slightest 7 Afghans died a time earlier successful a panicked stampede of thousands of people. The circumstances of the shooting, which occurred astir dawn, remained unclear.

The German subject tweeted that 1 subordinate of the Afghan information forces was killed and 3 others were wounded by “unknown attackers.” It aboriginal clarified that it was referring to “members of the Afghan army” progressive successful securing the airport.

Emergency, an Italian humanitarian enactment that operates hospitals successful Afghanistan, said it had treated six patients with slug wounds from the airport, nary of whom were successful life-threatening condition.

The U.S. subject and NATO did not instantly admit the shooting. There was nary remark from the Taliban.

The tragic scenes astir the airdrome person transfixed the world. Afghans poured onto the tarmac past week and immoderate clung to a U.S. subject transport plane as it took off, aboriginal plunging to their deaths. At slightest 7 radical died that day, successful summation to the 7 killed Sunday.

The Taliban blasted the chaotic evacuation connected the U.S. subject and accidental there’s nary request for immoderate Afghans to flee. They person pledged to bring bid and information aft decades of warfare and accidental they won’t question revenge connected those who worked with the U.S., NATO and the toppled Afghan government.

But their fighters person violently suppressed protests and bushed radical with batons arsenic they effort to power the crowds extracurricular the airdrome perimeter. There person besides been reports successful caller days of the Taliban hunting down their erstwhile enemies. It’s unclear if Taliban leaders are saying 1 happening and doing another, oregon if fighters connected the crushed are taking matters into their ain hands.

As the airlift continues, the U.S. authorities asked for 18 craft from U.S. commercialized carriers to assistance successful transporting Afghan refugees to their last destinations aft their archetypal evacuation. The petition fell nether the Civil Reserve Air Fleet program, which was calved successful the aftermath of the Berlin airlift and tin adhd to the military’s capabilities during crises.

Early Monday, a Delta Air Lines formation landed successful Dubai and aboriginal took disconnected for Al-Udeid Air Base successful Qatar, wherever evacuees are crowded into hangars. A dependable watercourse of subject transport planes proceed to alert radical retired of Kabul to airfields crossed the Mideast.

Since Aug. 14, the U.S. has evacuated oregon facilitated the evacuation of much than 30,000 radical connected subject and conjugation flights. Tens of thousands of radical — Americans, different foreigners and Afghans who assisted successful the warfare effort — are inactive waiting to articulation the airlift, which has been slowed by information issues and U.S. bureaucracy hurdles.

U.S. President Joe Biden said Sunday he would not regularisation out extending the evacuation beyond Aug. 31, the day helium had acceptable for completing the withdrawal of U.S. forces. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to property Biden for an extension.

But Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen, successful an interrogation with Sky News, said Aug. 31 is simply a “red line” and that extending the American beingness would “provoke a reaction.”

There are concerns that a section affiliate of the Islamic State radical mightiness people the crowds extracurricular the airdrome with termination bombers oregon occurrence missiles astatine U.S. aircraft. Military planes person been executing corkscrew landings, and different craft person fired flares upon takeoff — some measures utilized to debar rocket attacks.

The Taliban and IS person antithetic ideologies and person fought successful caller years, but 1 interest astir the Taliban’s takeover is that they could again structure extremist groups. The Taliban harbored al-Qaida portion it orchestrated the 9/11 attacks, starring to the U.S. penetration successful 2001. The Taliban present accidental they volition not let Afghanistan to beryllium a basal for attacks connected different countries.

Elsewhere successful Afghanistan, the Taliban person faced constricted equipped absorption from fighters successful Baghlan province, immoderate 120 kilometers (75 miles) northbound of Kabul. The anti-Taliban fighters claimed to person seized 3 districts successful the Andarab Valley connected Sunday, but the Taliban said Monday that they had cleared them retired overnight.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said the group’s forces person besides surrounded adjacent Panjshir, the lone 1 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces yet to autumn to the fighters.

Several Taliban opponents person gathered there, including Amrullah Saleh, the vice president successful the toppled authorities who claims to beryllium the acting president. Ahmad Massoud, lad of the slain commandant of the Northern Alliance militias that partnered with the U.S. to thrust the Taliban from powerfulness successful 2001, is besides successful Panjshir.

In interviews with Arab media outlets implicit the weekend, Massoud said his fighters would defy immoderate effort to instrumentality the state by unit but were unfastened to dialog with the Taliban.

Mujahid, the Taliban spokesman, said determination had been nary warring successful Panjshir yet and that his radical is seeking a “peaceful solution” to the standoff.

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