The Taliban fired into the air on Sunday and used batons to line people up in orderly lines outside the Kabul airport, witnesses said, a day after seven people were killed in an instant at the gates.
On Sunday, there were no major injuries as gunmen repulsed the crowd and long lines of people formed, witnesses said.
The British Ministry of Defense said seven Afghans were killed in the crowds around the airport on Saturday as thousands of people tried desperately to get a flight, a week after the terrorist group took control of the country.
Sky News showed footage of soldiers standing on a wall on Saturday trying to pull the wounded from the crush and hose down people to keep them from becoming dehydrated.
“Conditions on the ground remain extremely challenging, but we are doing everything we can to manage the situation as safely and securely as possible,” the ministry said in a statement.
A NATO official said at least 20 people have died in and around the airport in the past seven days. Some were shot and others died in the stampede, witnesses said.
Panicked Afghans have tried to fly abroad, fearing reprisals and a return to a harsh version of Islamic law the Sunni Muslim group applied when it was in power 20 years ago.
The United States and other foreign countries, including Britain, have brought in several thousand troops to manage the evacuations of foreign citizens and vulnerable Afghans, but have stayed away from the airport’s outer areas.
“Our forces keep a strict distance from the outer areas of the Kabul airport to avoid clashes with the Taliban,” the NATO official said.
A Taliban official said on Sunday that “we are seeking complete clarity on the exit plan of foreign troops”.
“Managing chaos outside the Kabul airport is a complex task,” the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters.
THOUSANDS TROP US
On Saturday, the United States and Germany told their citizens in Afghanistan not to travel to the Kabul airport, citing security risks as desperate crowds gathered.
Major General William Taylor told a Pentagon briefing on Saturday that 5,800 U.S. troops remain at the airport and the facility “remains safe.” Taylor said some gates to the airport were temporarily closed and reopened in the past day to facilitate a safe influx of evacuees.
Australia operated four flights to Kabul on Saturday night, evacuating more than 300 people, including Australians, Afghan visa holders, New Zealanders, US and British citizens, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
Taylor said the United States evacuated 17,000 people, including 2,500 Americans, from Kabul in the past week.
The Taliban came to power and the collapse of the Afghan military came as US-led forces withdrew after a 20-year war that President Joe Biden tried to end.
Biden, who has come under much criticism at home and abroad for the way the war has ended, is set to speak about the situation in Afghanistan at 4 p.m. EDT (2000 GMT).
Former President Donald Trump called it “the greatest foreign policy humiliation” in US history on Saturday, even though his own administration negotiated the withdrawal agreement last year.
TALIBAN IN POWER
Taliban leaders are trying to form a new government and Taliban co-founder Mullah Baradar has arrived in the Afghan capital for talks with other leaders.
Taliban commanders will meet with former governors and bureaucrats in more than 20 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces in the coming days to ensure their security and seek cooperation, the Taliban official said on Sunday.
Forces holding out against the Taliban in northern Afghanistan said this weekend they captured three districts near the Panjshir Valley where remnants of government forces and other militia groups have gathered.
The Taliban follow an ultra-tough version of Islam. They have tried to show a more moderate face since coming to power, saying they want peace and will respect women’s rights within the framework of Islamic law.
While in power from 1996 to 2001, also guided by Islamic law, the Taliban prevented women from working or going out without wearing an all-encompassing burqa and prevented girls from going to school.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NewsMadura staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)