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Chaos At The Kabul Airport Reflects The Desperation Afghans Are Feeling

Afghans crowd the tarmac of the Kabul airport on Monday to flee the country. Thousands of people mobbed the city's airport trying to flee the group's feared hardline brand of Islamist rule.
AFP via Getty Images
Afghans crowd the tarmac of the Kabul airport on Monday to flee the country. Thousands of people mobbed the city's airport trying to flee the group's feared hardline brand of Islamist rule.

The scenes out of Afghanistan's international airport in Kabul reflect the chaos and desperation the country is facing.

Images from the ground show hundreds if not thousands of Afghans crowding the airport, including the tarmac, in an apparent attempt to flee the country, as NPR's Greg Myre described on Morning Edition.

Afghan people climb on a plane and sit by the door as they wait at the Kabul airport.
Wakil Kohsar / AFP via Getty Images
/
AFP via Getty Images
Afghan people climb on a plane and sit by the door as they wait at the Kabul airport.

U.S. forces have set up razor wire to keep the crowd back, and there have been reports of gunfire at or near the airport (NPR has not confirmed the details). The U.S. said Sunday an additional 1,000 troops would head to Kabul to help with evacuation airports, boosting the overall expected numbers to about 6,000 U.S. troops in the country.

An Afghan family rushes to the airport as they flee.
/ Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
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Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
An Afghan family rushes to the airport as they flee.

The airlift of thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of people, includes dual Afghan-U.S. citizens as well as Afghans who've helped the U.S., "but it seems many people have just rushed to the airport on their own," Myre reports.

NPR's Michele Kelemen adds that the U.S. State Department says all embassy personnel are safe and at the airport.

Listen to this morning's update here.


This story originally appeared on the Morning Edition live blog.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Dana Farrington is a digital editor coordinating online coverage on the Washington Desk — from daily stories to visual feature projects to the weekly newsletter. She has been with the NPR Politics team since President Trump's inauguration. Before that, she was among NPR's first engagement editors, managing the homepage for NPR.org and the main social accounts. Dana has also worked as a weekend web producer and editor, and has written on a wide range of topics for NPR, including tech and women's health.