Human remains found in wheel well of US military plane after desperate Afghans cling to aircraft

Body found during inspection after pilots perform emergency landing in another country

Chiara Giordano
Tuesday 17 August 2021 12:56 BST
Desperate Afghans climb onto plane during takeoff as crowds try to flee Taliban
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Human remains have reportedly been found in the wheel well of a US military plane after an evacuation flight left Kabul airport.

Video footage showed desperate Afghans running alongside and climbing on to a US Air Force C-17 transport plane as it was taxiing on a runway on Monday.

A plane later diverted to a nearby third country after its crew struggled to put up their landing gear and declared an emergency, according to the Washington Post.

The newspaper said a body was then found in the aircraft’s wheel well during an inspection.

A separate video also appeared to show at least two people falling from an airborne plane, something an unnamed official reportedly told the paper “absolutely happened”.

The Independent previously reported how at least seven people were said to have been killed after chaos erupted in Kabul airport as desperate Afghans attempted to flee Taliban rule.

Both US troops and Taliban fighters fired into the air as thousands streamed into the airport in the hope of boarding civilian flights – although most had been cancelled.

Others moved on to the military side of the airport where American, British and other foreign governments were airlifting their nationals and some Afghans who had worked for them out of the country.

Hundreds of people run alongside a US Air Force C-17 transport plane as it moves down a runway of the international airport in Kabul
Hundreds of people run alongside a US Air Force C-17 transport plane as it moves down a runway of the international airport in Kabul (Screengrab/AP)

It is unclear whether the deaths were a result of the shots or a stampede.

Evacuation flights were subsequently suspended for most of Monday but resumed a day later after the runway at Kabul was cleared.

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab said the situation was “stabilising” on Tuesday following a new “surge” of US troops and 600 additional personnel from the UK.

US president Joe Biden stood by his decision to withdraw American troops from the country after 20 years despite the chaotic scenes.

In a national address called by the White House hours after Kabul fell to the Taliban, Mr Biden said he stood “squarely behind” his decision and insisted the only alternative was a return to all-out war with the Taliban.

He blamed the Taliban’s takeover on Afghan political leaders who fled and its army’s unwillingness to fight.

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