The US military has temporarily suspended air operations at Kabul airport on Monday as its troops attempted to clear Afghans who flooded onto the airfield, which resembled a chaotic bus station as hundreds of people jostled, pushed and shoved to get on to planes in a bid to flee the country.
CNN cited a US defence official who said the suspension of operations is “while we make sure the airfield is secure.”
Chaotic scenes continued to unfold at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport where US military Apache helicopter was also seen swooping low over the tarmac in what appeared to be an effort to disperse the crowds of civilians, desperately trying to leave, reported CNN.
Witnesses also told CNN that they have heard gunshots fired throughout the day at Kabul airport. It’s unclear if the shots were fired at people or in the air to disperse crowds.
While flights at the Kabul airport are closed off to civilian aviation, evacuation flights are still being able to take off, data tracking shows.
France and Finland are the latest countries to close their Kabul embassies and evacuate their staff whilst Britain’s first flight carrying UK nationals and embassy staff has now arrived in the UK, reported CNN.
Meanwhile, US Defence Secretary Antony Blinken approved 1,000 more US troops into Afghanistan due to the deteriorating security situation and the White House says President Joe Biden will address the American people soon, reported CNN.
The Taliban have taken control of Afghanistan’s capital city, Kabul on Sunday. The terrorist group is now everywhere in the capital, walking the streets of Kabul with ease (and with American weapons in hand.)
Throughout, the Taliban’s influence on the city is becoming visible, with men proactively painting over images of uncovered women outside of several beauty salons, reported CNN.US refugee resettlement agencies are preparing for a large influx of Afghan arrivals.
The Department of Defence will potentially relocate up to 30,000 Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants to the US, according to Pentagon press secretary John Kirby. Fort Bliss in Texas and Fort McCoy in Wisconsin have the capability to house these applicants, Kirby said.