Shocking photos show 640 Afghans crammed into fleeing US Air Force plane

Th Afghan citizens were evacuated to Qatar on a US Air Force plane

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Tuesday 17 August 2021 10:28
Comments
Crowds rush to Kabul Airport as desperate Afghan citizens attempt to flee city

A new photo from the evacuation of Kabul reveals how nearly 650 Afghans were crammed onto one US Air Force transport plane in the scramble to escape the Taliban.

The image from Sunday shows roughly 640 Afghans who had been cleared to evacuate crammed inside the C-17 Globemaster II cargo jet - far more than the aircraft’s designated load of passengers.

“The crew made the decision to go,” a defence official told military news site Defense One, which obtained the image.  “Approximately 640 Afghan civilians disembarked the aircraft when it arrived at its destination.”

Video of the packed plane, which had a course set for Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, had previously circulated on social media.

Air traffic radio captures an official discussing the flight with someone on the plane, who cannot be heard.

“OK, how many people do you think are on your jet? … 800 people on your jet? … Holy f***, holy cow…” the official says.

Chaos erupted at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on Sunday and Monday, as US armed forces shut down the airport to commercial flights to continue evacuating government personnel and US allies.

At least seven people were killed in the rush to leave the country, including two armed men shot by US troops, as well as others who were run over by airplanes.

More than 600 Afghans squeeze onto a US evacuation flight out of Kabul on Sunday, 15 August, 2021

Videos suggest some held onto the outside of departing jets before falling to their deaths.

Up to 9,000 US troops have been redeployed to the country to secure the evacuation process, and foreign diplomats from multiple nations have been moved into the airport, as civilian Afghans wait for indefinitely suspended flights to return.

“The truth is this did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated,” US President Joe Biden said on Monday in his first public comments about the crisis, as disarray continued across Afghanistan.

Still, he insisted, “American troops cannot and should not be fighting the war, and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in