Taliban Take Kabul As Afghans Attempt To Flee

by Jonathan Green
Taliban in Afghanistan Kabul

Breaking: The Taliban have taken control of Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital city. Frantic scenes have unfolded at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport as five civilians dead in an attempt to flee.

Key Developments

  • US president Biden is due to address the American public on this developing situation this afternoon. Kabul has fallen to the hands of the Taliban, who were driven out by US troops almost two decades ago.
  • Australian Prime Minister held an emergency cabinet meeting earlier today to discuss sending Australian Defence Force troops into Afghanistan on a rescue mission. A decision was made to send troops in when the “situation allows”. It’s believed the Australian government intends to rescue dual Australian-Afghanistan nationals, journalists and some former Kabul embassy staff.
  • US official says US troops fired shots into the air to deter civilians attempting to access military aircraft in an attempt to flee.

Five Dead Attempting To Flee Kabul After The Taliban Takes Over Control

Five civilians have been reported dead as US troops oversee the evacuation of US citizens and embassy staff today after the Taliban ceased control of the Afghan capital. Scenes erupted shortly after the Taliban took control of Kabul and declared the long-standing Afghan war over. It remains unclear how or why the five civilians died, but reports say US troops fired shots in the air to prevent bystanders from hindering the US emergency evacuation.

The widely circulated video shows several civilians running beside a US Air Force plane as it taxied along the runway before take-off. In other videos circulating online, it appears there were three bodies on the ground near an airport side-entrance.

A US defence official confirmed that all evacuation flights were temporarily postponed to allow troops to clear the runway of congregating people.

Taliban fighters take control of Afghan presidential palace after the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Taliban fighters take control of the Afghan presidential palace after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country in Kabul, Afghanistan. © AP Photo/Zabi Karimi

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison Plans Evac Mission

The Australian Cabinet’s National Security Committee approved a rescue mission to evacuate Australians in Afghanistan, including Afghans who served in the Australian Defence Force. Around 250 ADF troops will be used, with some being deployed to the middle east. According to the ABC,  the mission involves a RAAF C-17 aircraft and other Defence assets from across Australia.

It’s understood that dual Australian-Afghanistan nationals, journalists and some former Kabul embassy staff are among those being targeted in the rescue missions.

Taliban fighters stand guard in a vehicle along the roadside in Kabul on August 16, 2021

Taliban fighters stand guard in a vehicle along the roadside in Kabul on August 16, 2021. © AFP

Taliban insurgents have infiltrated the presidential palace after a sudden uprising which led to them seizing control of much of Afghanistan inside one week. Thousands of people have been left stranded overnight at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport as Afghans seek a way out of the fallen city. Many fear that the Taliban’s rule will replicate that of their rule in 1996-2001, abolishing women’s rights despite the promise of a peaceful transition.

Stay up to date with the ongoing situation in Kabul with Travel Radar. Be sure to follow us on Twitter & Instagram @thetravelradar. Our sincere thoughts go out to those affected by today’s events in both Afghanistan and Haiti.

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