Thousands of Afghans Jam Streets near Kabul Airport; Foreign countries speed up evacuation
Tens of thousands of Afghans again blocked the roads leading to Kabul airport, as Taliban fighters fired in the air and sought to control the crowds trying to flee the country.
As the Taliban tried to consolidate their control over Kabul and establish law and order, the group faced a challenge in a northern district from fighters who refuse to acknowledge the Taliban’s claim to power. .
Al-Arabiya television station quoted on August 22 the son of Ahmad Shah Massud, who was one of the main leaders of the country’s anti-Soviet resistance in the 1980s, as saying that he would not cede the areas under his control. control to the Taliban.
Ahmad Massud also called for the formation of a comprehensive government to rule the country with the participation of the Taliban. And he warned that war will be “inevitable” if the insurgents refuse dialogue, the TV station reported.
Chaos outside Kabul airport resulted in the deaths of seven Afghans, the British military said on August 22 – a figure which is considered a major undercount. The British statement did not specify when or how exactly the deaths occurred.
A NATO official said at least 20 people have died in the past seven days in and around the airport. Some were shot and others died in the stampede.
Thousands of US Marines have secured part of the airport and have struggled to keep crowds off and off the tarmac as military and civilian planes take off carrying foreigners and Afghans.
Jake Sullivan, the White House’s national security adviser, told CNN on August 22 that 3,900 people had been evacuated from Kabul on US flights in the past 24 hours. According to the US Department of Defense, US planes have flown 17,000 people out of the country since evacuation efforts began a week ago.
Britain’s Defense Ministry said nearly 4,000 people had been evacuated by British flights from Afghanistan since August 13.
WATCH: Deadly stampede at Kabul airport as people try to flee
The Afghan Civil Aviation Authority has asked people not to go to the facility.
“The [are] no civilian and commercial flights to Hamid Karzai International Airport, “he said on his Facebook account on August 21.
Britain, the United States and other countries have struggled to expand evacuation efforts of their own citizens, as well as Afghans who have worked for foreign embassies, NGOs, forces of the NATO or other organizations that could expose them to retaliation from Taliban fighters. .
Growing security threats have prompted U.S. military planes to make fast diving combat landings at Kabul airport and other planes have been seen firing flares on takeoff, apparently in an attempt to confuse people. possible homing missiles.
The US Embassy has issued a new security alert, warning citizens not to travel to Kabul airport without individual instruction from a US government official.
The Pentagon has said it is officially seeking help from commercial airlines to move evacuees from Afghanistan once they are out of their country.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the commercial plane would not fly to Kabul airport, but instead would be used to move passengers from bus stations once they leave Kabul, allowing the US military to focus on the Afghan part of the evacuation.
The Spanish government announced that the United States and Spain agreed to use two military bases in Spain to receive Afghans who worked for the United States government.
Under the agreement, the bases – one near Seville, the other near Cadiz – will be used to process Afghan refugees until their travel to other countries is arranged.
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the EU had “complained” to US officials that their security at Kabul airport was too tight and hampered attempts by Afghans who were working for Europeans to enter.
Bahrain has announced it will open its airports to flights evacuating people from Afghanistan, and the UAE has announced it will temporarily host Afghan refugees as the United States faces overcrowding at evacuee treatment facilities in Qatar.
Afghan officials familiar with talks in the capital have said the Taliban will not make any announcements about their government until the August 31 deadline for the withdrawal of US troops.