With the Taliban having taken control of Afghanistan, there are some heartbreaking images and videos of the chaos and desperation at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport. Yesterday I posted about how an Emirates 777 flying from Dubai to Kabul was on its descent when it decided to turn around to Dubai. That’s nothing compared to what has been going on at the airport since then.
Kabul Airport closes to commercial traffic
On Sunday Kabul Airport closed to commercial traffic, given that the Taliban took over the city, so there was no way commercial flights into the capital city could continue to operate safely. Not only that, but most airlines have started to avoid Afghanistan’s airspace, especially as the country’s air traffic control is no longer offering services to civilian aircraft.
At this point the flights leaving from Kabul are all evacuation flights. Unfortunately the way that this is being done leaves a bit to be desired, given the sudden nature of the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul. While so many people are looking to flee, at the moment it’s primarily foreign government employees who are being rescued, with others being left to fend for themselves.
Heartbreaking scenes from Kabul Airport
With so many people looking to evacuate Afghanistan, the footage from the airport is absolutely wild. The airport is no longer secure, and people are trying to get onto planes any way possible.
There’s footage of hundreds of people on the tarmac around planes looking to depart, and even clinging onto jet bridges.
There’s footage of hundreds of people running alongside a US Air Force C-17 jet as it’s preparing to take off (by the way, this plane allegedly had 800 people on it).
There are even people hanging onto the exterior of the plane, hoping that it will allow them to escape (and I won’t even post it, but there’s video of the plane taking off and people falling from it).
The scenes from Kabul Airport are horrifying and heartbreaking. On this blog I typically cover air travel in the context of ways to maximize it and get as luxurious of an experience as possible, but this really puts stuff into perspective. On the most basic level, aviation is about connecting people and getting them where they need to go, and there’s no clearer example of that than what we’re seeing here.
It’s really sad that the situation in Afghanistan has so quickly deteriorated to the point that people think their best option is to hang onto the exterior of a plane as it takes off.