One of the most striking images of the Taliban’s capture of Afghanistan. Hundreds of Afghans boarded a U.S. military cargo plane as they fled Kabul
Their faces are mostly men, but when some women and children look at the camera, their expressions are a mixture of anxiety and perhaps some comfort.
The image, which was not confirmed by the BBC, was taken by the US defense analysis site Defense One.
The U.S. official said panicked civilians climbed the loading ramp on Sunday, but the crew decided it was better to take off than to force the Afghans off the plane.
The number on the plane – 640 – is one of the highest aircraft of this type C-17 Globemaster.
In 1991, an Israeli Boeing 747 carrying more than 1,000 Jewish immigrants from Ethiopia was approaching a record number of people, but it was still a long way off.
Citing Defense One, the US defense official said that the plane flying from Kabul to Qatar was one of the few flights that managed to evacuate hundreds of Afghans from Kabul.
The picture, which has not been officially released by the Pentagon, contrasts with the chaotic scenes that unfolded on Monday when Kabul airport was filled by Afghans fearing Taliban rule. U.S. troops struggled to maintain control.
Striking image captures Afghan exit:
An image of the same type of plane taken on Monday showed hundreds of Afghans fleeing next to the moving plane, clinging to the side. At least two people died in the fall after taking off, local media reported.
While the planes have been welcomed by many, the number of those forced to flee for fear of the Taliban could be a drop in the ocean.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has called on countries not to force the return of Afghans who were previously thought to be in need of protection.
According to the report, 550,000 Afghans have been displaced by the conflict since the beginning of the year.
UNHCR spokeswoman in Afghanistan Caroline Van Buren told CNN that between 20,000 and 30,000 people are thought to have crossed the border each week. Government figures show that 120,000 people have fled to Kabul since the closure of the Taliban.
Many who feared for their lives worked with US-led forces, especially as translators or contractors. But the Taliban’s treatment of women and barbaric punishment during its previous rule in the 1990s is another incentive to secede.
In early August, the White House announced plans to allow the relocation of thousands of Afghans with ties to the United States. On Monday, President Joe Biden announced he would provide $ 500 million (£ 362 million) in aid to Afghan refugees.
Officials say the United States has evacuated about 2,000 Afghans under the Special Immigrant Visa program and plans to relocate thousands.
Other countries, including Germany, are also helping. Chancellor Angela Merkel told party leaders that Germany could have to evacuate about 10,000 people, including 2,500 support workers.
British Foreign Secretary Dominique Raab told the BBC Breakfast that 150 British citizens had been deported on Sunday.
Last week, Britain withdrew 289 Afghans. He said several hundred people would leave in the next 24 hours.
But the turmoil in Afghanistan has raised fears of a new influx of migrants to Europe. Turkey’s decision to increase security on a long border with Iran, where it has built a concrete wall, is a clear example of this.
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News via@ BBC