Seven Afghan civilians were killed in crowds amid chaos around Kabul’s international airport, the British military said on Sunday, showing the danger still posed to those trying to flee the Taliban’s takeover of the country.
The deaths come as a new, perceived threat from ISIS affiliates in Afghanistan has seen US military planes do rapid, diving combat landings at the airport surrounded by Taliban fighters.
Other aircraft have shot off flares on takeoff, an effort to confuse possible heat-seeking missiles targeting the planes.
The changes come as the US Embassy issued a new security warning Saturday telling citizens not to travel to the Kabul airport without individual instruction from a US government representative. Officials declined to provide more specifics about the I threat but described it as significant.
They said there have been no confirmed attacks as yet by the militants, who have battled the Taliban in the past.
On Sunday, the British military acknowledged the seven deaths of civilians in the crowds in Kabul. There have been stampedes and crushing injuries in the crowds, especially as Taliban fighters fire into the air to drive away those desperate to get on any flight out of the country.
“Conditions on the ground remain extremely challenging but we are doing everything we can to manage the situation as safely and securely as possible,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement.
Watch: Afghan citizens trying to flee the country cling on to a US Air Force plane as it takes off from #Kabul airport amid the #Taliban takeover. #Afghanistan https://t.co/2vc7iuFmgj pic.twitter.com/sO0ltaUeqw— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) August 16, 2021