Dramatic scenes at Kabul airport

People brought to safety from Afghanistan reported terrible experiences and chaotic conditions at Kabul airport after landing in Germany. A passenger said Thursday morning at Frankfurt Airport that he had seen dead people and heard gunshots. “It is terrible,” said Mahmud Sadjadi. “Helplessness, hopelessness. Just chaos ”, he described the conditions in Kabul.

The man from the Westerwald had previously been flown to Frankfurt on a Lufthansa evacuation flight from the Uzbek capital Tashkent. According to the airline, there were around 250 people on board the machine. The German Bundeswehr has been bringing people from Kabul to Tashkent since Tuesday. The rescue mission is considered very dangerous.

A member of the Taliban loads his gun on the area of ​​the airport in Kabul

Reuters/Reuters Tv

Taliban with armored vehicle in front of the airport

“There was no information where we had to gather”

Sadjadi, who had stayed in Kabul for three weeks, confirmed that it was dangerous, especially at the airport in the Afghan capital. “You have to go through a Taliban barrier, for example.” Afghan security forces had fired. He heard how people died. Without a passport, it was not possible to get through to the airport.

Sadjadi thanked the German government for the rescue, but also complained about a lack of information. “There was no information about where to gather, when to gather.” One was left alone, he received no answer to his emails. Other countries would have picked up their people with buses and brought them to the airport. “Thank God everything went well.”

Entrances “completely blocked”

Another passenger, who did not want to give his name, reported organizational difficulties during the return operation. “The situation is difficult and not easy to get under control,” he said. But the people in Afghanistan needed help: “The world must help the Afghan people.”

People gather outside the airport area after hearing gunshots

Reuters/Asvaka News

Thousands are in front of the airport premises

Local helpers from German organizations also reported difficulties in getting to the airport for evacuation flights. On the one hand, the roads to the airport entrances are completely blocked and partly impassable. On the other hand, US soldiers did not let them directly at the entrances, two local staff reported to the dpa on Thursday.

US soldiers and refugees on a plane at the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan

Reuters/U.s. Central Command Public Affa

US soldiers and refugees in an airplane at the airport in Kabul

US soldiers “only let their people through”

“The American soldiers only let their people through,” said a local agent. At the time when the person was called to the airport, there was no one from the German side at the entrance. Another local employee reported that she tried to get into the airport from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. A US soldier said that someone had to come over and check whether he was really a local German employee. Shots were fired in the air again and again. Tear gas was also used. In addition, Afghans who had no documents blocked access, it was also said here.

Crowd at Kabul Airport

AP/Shekib Rahmani

Several thousand US soldiers are currently deployed at Kabul Airport

Multiple accesses

There are various entrances to the airport. Many people are at the entrance to the civil part, which is at the south end of the airport. Commercial flights are processed from there, but these are currently discontinued. At the north end there is an entrance to the military part.

Satellite image of Kabul airport

AP/Planet Labs Inc./Planet Labs Inc.

Kabul airport is the bottleneck when leaving the country – all land borders are controlled by the Taliban

Another entrance is about a kilometer east of the entrance to the civilian part. Around these entrances – but also along the blast protection walls that surround the site – thousands of people are waiting or trying somehow to get onto the site.

Since the Taliban came to power, many people have tried to leave the country. Western countries have launched evacuation flights to take their citizens out of the country and local workers on whom the Taliban feared acts of revenge. According to the German Defense Ministry alone, the German Bundeswehr has now flown more than 900 people out of Kabul.

250 people flown to Paris and Madrid

The French and Spanish governments have flown around 250 people from Afghanistan to Paris and Madrid. Around 200 passengers, including 25 French, arrived at Roissy Charles-de-Gaulle Airport near Paris on Wednesday evening with a plane belonging to the French Air Force. 53 passengers, including five Spaniards, were received at the Spanish military base in Torrejon de Ardoz near Madrid.

“We owe it to you,” tweeted French President Emmanuel Macron as he greeted the people. One of those who arrived said he was “very pleased” that he and his family were able to leave the country “in order to at least survive the atrocities of the Taliban”. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the Afghans were “threatened” and “deserved France to grant them asylum”.

Biden: US soldiers at the airport longer

According to US President Joe Biden, the chaos during the withdrawal of US troops was inevitable – due to the collapse of the Afghan government, the military and the rapid takeover of power by the Taliban. In a TV interview on Wednesday, Biden assured that the US soldiers would remain at Kabul airport for the evacuations after the planned departure date of August 31, if necessary.

Biden had come under fire in the face of the Taliban’s return to power. In an interview for the US television station ABC, he defended the government’s approach to troop withdrawal. “The idea that there is somehow a way to get out of it without the following chaos – I don’t know how to do that,” he said.

Secret service info cited as an argument

There was “no consensus” within the secret services regarding the prognoses for Afghanistan. It was said that a takeover of power was more likely towards the end of the year, the US president countered media reports, according to which the government should have received internal warnings of a possible very rapid collapse.

Biden received support from the US military: “There was nothing I saw or anyone else that would have indicated a collapse of this army and this government within eleven days,” said Chief of Staff Mark Milley. There have been several scenarios, “but the timeframe for a rapid collapse was widely estimated to be weeks, months or even years after we left.”

Problems with Taliban when Afghans leave the country

The Afghan security forces were superior to the Taliban in terms of troop strength, training and equipment. Ultimately, it was a question of “will and leadership”. There were some problems with the Taliban during the evacuation. It is true that the Islamists “cooperate” and allow US citizens and embassy staff to leave the country.

But with former Afghan employees of the US authorities and armed forces there are “a bit more difficulties,” said Biden. This is also shown by the reports of a CNN reporter in Kabul.

The US also wants to bring about 50,000 to 65,000 aid workers, including their families, to safety. Biden did not decide whether the US military would also be extended for this. “The obligation is to get out everyone we can get out and everyone who should be got out,” he said. The goal is still to complete the mission by August 31. But: “If there are still American citizens there, we’ll stay until we’ve got them all out.”

Leave a Comment