Terror struck last night in Afghanistan as the inevitable happened and the fear-mongering Taliban insurgents took control of the country with gunfire, including one it’s main international airports Kabul International, creating chaos and panic throughout the whole country. In a frugal bid to seek safety, thousands scrambled the airport to try to escape the tyrannous rule of the Taliban and their flaying gunshots. Amidst the chaos, as Afghans tried to force their way onto planes, 7 tragically died – figure as of 16:00 UTC earlier today. Images and videos of people fleeing are rife on social media, with one notable twitter user, Hassan. I Hassan posting a video of the dramatic scene of his birth place’s – Iraq/Syria boarder – close neighbour.
US forces called to act
The United States Department of Defense headquarters, The Pentagon, have confirmed that two of the men that died were armed and dangerous, threatening the lives of other escapees and killed by US soldiers. It is unclear how the others died, but with the brutal pictures of stampedes and Afghans falling off departing planes shown across the internet, it’s not hard to image what could be the cause. US defense officials have also said that the head of Central Command has met with senior Taliban leaders and have pleaded them not to interfere with attempt of rescue and evacuation operations as they send soldiers across to the Atlantic Ocean in military planes, or bring terror to the airport, which for now, stands impartial to the politics and beliefs of the Taliban regime.
British troops join forces
Thousands of British troops have also been sent to evacuate remaining UK national and eligible Afghans. There is particular concern for those who worked have with the British forces and what might happen if they are captured by the Talibans, fearing retaliation from them. The 16th Air Assault Brigade are working with the US forces to secure the airport, including using Apache helicopters to help secure the runway to allow military aircraft to arrive and depart.
Though the UK Air Force (the RAF) have begun their rescue operations, many commercial airlines have stopped services due to the anarchy, trapping many helpless citizens with booked tickets, or those seeking a ticket out of the country. Airlines such as British Airways and AirFrance-KLM have made the decision to avoid its airspace as well due to increased risk on the surface of airline missiles. United Airlines are now re-routing India flight routes, and FlyDubai and Emirates have suspended flights; Kabul is now a blackzone that no commercial airline will fly over. This comes following a NOTAM from the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) earlier last month about flying over the airspace. Satellite image from space though show the airplanes on group with thousands scattered around Kabul Airport.
How did the Taliban win so quickly?
The Taliban took over last night in the late evening and government office buildings now stand empty as the terrorists make the space their own. After two decades of war and resistance from nations around the world, including the UK and US, the withdrawal of support from these nations and the world left Afghanistan vulnerable. Particularly, these events come as a shock as it was expected that the country would remain strong with their multi-billion high-tech weapons and training from NATO forces to support them. But the insurgent’s victory show just how much stronger the Taliban were and that their 20 year-long war gave them purpose and determination. It is estimated over 200,000 insurgents helped the Taliban take over the country. Enough to succeed and penetrate the minds of Afghans who supported what they stood for – extreme Islamic (Sha’ria Law) ruling for a stricter and more controlled society, and one with very few rights for women.
What will the future be for Afghanistan?
Sadly, for the now homeless Afghans, this is a hurt at the deepest level. They will be scattering around the world, leaving loved ones such as friends and family and including beloved pets. Many now have to travel elsewhere to seek homes in new places and build a new life. But it is doubtful they will be able to do so with a whole heart and it will take years for them to recover. And that is just those who have managed to secure a place on a flight out of the country.
Are you trying to escape?
Are you affected by the shocking turn of events? Comment below or tweet us with your stories @thetravelradar Let’s hope the commercial airlines can do more than avoid to help those suffering, but if they can’t a call to help to the private aviation industry will be needed.
Travel Radar stands with Afghanistan and it’s people.