Pentagon defends Kabul evacuation as not ‘perfect’ as images show hundreds of abandoned shoes

Poignant picture depicts the aftermath of evacuation attempts in Afghanistan’s capital

Biden Stands Behind Decision To Withdraw
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A photo of a Kabul airport tarmac scattered with shoes has captured the desperation of those attempting to flee Afghanistan, following the Taliban takeover.

In the image posted by Indian journalist Kanika Gupta on social media, flip-flops and shoes are scattered around Hamid Karzai International Airport in the wake of mass attempted evacuations. “Kabul airport … slippers strewn all over the tarmac … such a disaster that the world left behind.”

The desperation and sheer helplessness of people who now have to spend a lifetime under the butt of a Kalashnikov. My heart beats for you,” posted the reporter with the picture.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon is on defence over the images of the chaotic evacuation, saying that “no plan is perfect”.

“No plan is ever perfect and no plan can be perfectly predictive in terms of what friction, what unknown aspects and factors you’re going to deal with no the back side,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in an interview on Tuesday with MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

US ambassador Ross Wilson, the current US charge d’affaires in Kabul, confirmed that he had not left the country and he and other US embassy officials would remain to help “citizens and vulnerable Afghans”.

The Taliban seized control of the capital at the weekend, after the US withdrew its troops, which had been occupying Afghanistan for 20 years.

“Our commitment to the Afghan people endures,” posted Wilson on Twitter on Tuesday.

There have been desperate scenes at Kabul’s international airport this week when swarms of panicked Afghanis were seen running onto the tarmac, clamouring up jet bridges and hanging off aircraft. In one video, a person is seen falling from the side of a military plane after it took off from the runway.

The Pentagon has sent thousands of US troops to Kabul airport to help with evacuations. President Biden said the takeover of Afghanistan unfolded “more quickly than we had anticipated”.

“The Afghan military collapsed, sometimes without trying to fight,” said Mr Biden. “American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves”.

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