Horrific videos have emerged from the Kabul airport in the wake of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, including those which purportedly showed people falling to their deaths after they clung on to an aircraft as it took off.
The tarmac at the Hamid Karzai airport overflowed with desperation and panic as people struggled to board flights and flee the battered nation.
(The visuals below might be disturbing for some viewers. Viewer discretion advised.)
In another video doing the rounds on social media, hordes of people could be sent running around US Air Force aircraft, some holding on to the plane as it moves on the runway.
Twenty years after the United States invaded Afghanistan – providing billions of dollars worth of military support to its government – the Taliban seized control of the country on Sunday.
Earlier on Monday, US troops fired shots in the air at Kabul's airport as crowds poured out on the tarmac, news agency AFP reported, quoting a witness.
"I feel very scared here. They are firing lots of shots in the air," a witness told AFP. Videos of chaos at the Kabul airport, of Afghans and foreigners trying to leave the country, flooded the internet on Monday.
A sea of people – including parents carrying young children – could be seen running towards planes on the airfield. US Humvees were also on the ground at the airport. In one video, a woman called out, “Look at the state of the people of Afghanistan”.
President Ashraf Ghani 'Flees'
Hopeless visuals of crowds, mostly men, clinging to the doors of the aircraft and boarding stairways emerged, as people tried to board flights out of the nation.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the nation on Sunday as the militant group surrounded Kabul.
“There will be no transitional government in Afghanistan” two Afghan officials had told Reuters as the Taliban announced that it had taken control of the Afghan presidential palace in Kabul on Sunday.
All commercial flights have been suspended at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, TOLO News had reported, after the closure of Afghan airspace.
(With inputs from Reuters, TOLO News and AFP)