Shocking video shows desperate Afghans clinging to US plane amid chaotic scenes at Kabul airport

·5-min read

Watch: Footage appears to show people clinging to side of US plane amid chaos at Kabul airport

Footage has emerged showing desperate Afghan people running alongside a US military plane trying to cling onto the outside in order to escape the country as Kabul airport descended into chaos. 

Flights from the airport were suspended by the US military on Monday afternoon (UK-time) after scenes of mass panic, as citizens tried to flee the Taliban-held city.

Footage showed hundreds of people on the tarmac, and at least five people have been killed in the chaos, it has been reported.

The video was shared by Afghan news agency TOLOnews, and has not been independently verified.

Countries have been scrambling to evacuate their citizens and embassy staff from the city, while commercial flights were stopped on Sunday, effectively trapping Afghan citizens trying to escape the regime by air. 

A spokesperson for the German foreign ministry said on Monday morning that it was not clear whether evacuations from Kabul airport would be able to continue amid the desperate chaos, warning that flights could not take off due to the crowds of people on the tarmac.

Further footage has circulated on social media purporting to show stowaways falling to their deaths from airborne planes.

Desperate Afghans cling to US plane amid chaotic scenes at Kabul airport (TOLOnews)
Desperate Afghans cling to US plane amid chaotic scenes at Kabul airport (TOLOnews)

Another post showed men inspecting a body on a roof of a person who had allegedly tried to stow away in the undercarriage of an aircraft and fallen to the ground.

Boris Johnson's spokesperson said on Monday afternoon that Britain will evacuate hundreds of British nationals and eligible Afghan nationals every day, and flights out of Afghanistan will continue for as long as it is safe.

Five killed amid Kabul airport chaos

The Reuters news agency reported on Monday that witnesses said five people had been killed at the airport.

One witness told the news agency he had seen the bodies of five people being taken to a vehicle. 

American soldiers took control of the capital’s international airport on Sunday as the US tried to evacuate its embassy staff, while commercial flights were halted.

The US said its troops fired gunshots into the air to prevent desperate Afghans from trying to board its flights.

Afghans crowd at the tarmac of the Kabul airport on August 16, 2021, to flee the country as the Taliban were in control of Afghanistan after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country and conceded the insurgents had won the 20-year war. (Photo by - / AFP) (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)
Afghans are trying to leave their country after the Taliban regained control. (AFP via Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Afghans crowd at the tarmac of the Kabul airport on August 16, 2021, to flee the country as the Taliban were in control of Afghanistan after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country and conceded the insurgents had won the 20-year war. (Photo by - / AFP) (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)
Thousands of people have gathered at Kabul international airport in Afghanistan. (AFP via Getty Images)
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - AUGUST 16: Afghans crowd at the tarmac of the Kabul airport on August 16, 2021, to flee the country as the Taliban were in control of Afghanistan after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country. (Photo by Sayed Khodaiberdi Sadat/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
The crowd outside Kabul international airport in Afghanistan on Monday. (Getty Images)

A US official told Reuters they were “forced to fire into the air to prevent Afghans running on to tarmac to board military flights”.

The official said the flights are “only meant to ferry diplomats, foreign staff, and local embassy staff”.

Images from the airport show thousands of people gathered near runways.

UK defence secretary Ben Wallace told BBC Breakfast on Monday morning: “We flew out 370 staff and British citizens, eligible personnel yesterday and the day before and we’ll continue to engage those flights.

“The next group of Afghans to come out will be 782 and we’ll make sure we get them in the next 24 to 36 hours out of the country and are continuing to process those people.”

“We will do everything we can to bring as many people out as possible.”

Handout photo dated 13/08/21 issued by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) Members of Joint Forces Headquarters (JFHQ) deploying to Afghanistan to assist in the draw down of troops from the area. Boris Johnson has said the sacrifices made by British troops in Afghanistan have not been
British troops have been sent to Afghanistan to evacuate about 4,000 people. (PA)

Wallace admitted that “some people won’t get back” from Afghanistan.

He told LBC Radio: “It’s a really deep part of regret for me. Look, some people won’t get back. 

“Some people won’t get back and we will have to do our best in third countries to process those people.”

Triumphant Taliban fighters were pictured in Kabul in the presidential palace abandoned by president Ashraf Ghani, who fled the country while his forces gave up the city without a fight.

Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood, a former captain in the British Army and chairman of the Defence Select Committee, criticised the West for pulling out of the country.

Appearing on Sky News, he said: “The world is now a little bit more dangerous because they’ve now taken control of the country, and the West should really hang its head in shame after abruptly abandoning Afghanistan to a civil war after two decades of effort.”

Boris Johnson said his priority was to get UK nationals and Afghans who had worked with them out of the country “as fast as we can”.

Afghans crowd at the airport as they wait to leave from Kabul on August 16, 2021. (Photo by Shakib Rahmani / AFP) (Photo by SHAKIB RAHMANI/AFP via Getty Images)
Afghans crowd at Kabul's international airport as they try to flee the country. (AFP via Getty Images)

MPs are expected to to vent their anger and frustration when they return to Westminster on Wednesday for an emergency recall of Parliament to discuss the crisis.

While much of the anger was directed at the US for its decision to withdraw its forces, precipitating the collapse, some MPs expressed concern that Britain could have done more to avert the crisis.

But Johnson said that while the US decision had “accelerated things”, the end was inevitable.

“This has been in many ways something that has been a chronicle of an event foretold,” he said.

“We’ve known for a long time that this was the way things were going.”

Watch: 'Some people won't get back' from Afghanistan, says defence minister

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting