Sunday, 19 Sep 2021

Alarming photo shows 640 desperate Afghans crammed into plane fleeing Taliban

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A shocking new photo shows how 640 Afghan refugees boarded just one US Air Force plane in a desperate evacuation attempt.

The C-17 Globemaster II cargo jet was set for Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, and is not designed to carry that many passengers.

According to Defense One, who obtained the photo, evacuees climbed onto the plane's half-open ramp in a bid to escape the Taliban.

Instead of forcing them off, "the crew made the decision to go," a defence official told the site.

They continued: "Approximately 640 Afghan civilians disembarked the aircraft when it arrived at its destination."

News of the daring escape filtered through to social media on Sunday.

After a video was shared on Twitter of the Afghans climbing onto the plane, a recording of officials discussing the flight on air traffic radio was released.

One official can be heard talking to someone on the flight whose audio is muted.

He said: "Ok, how many people do you think are on your jet?

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"800 people on your jet?

"Holy f**k, holy cow."

Around 9000 US troops have now been redeployed to Afghanistan to aid the evacuation after president Ashraf Ghani fled the country on Sunday, handing control to the Taliban.

US forces halted commercial flights at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul to allow for government officials and allies to get out, but the process has not been smooth.

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Saddening videos shared online appear to show Afghans clinging onto the outside of departing planes.

With the Taliban in control of Afghanistan's land borders, the airport is the only viable way out for many.

At least seven people have died during the evacuation, some having been run over by planes.

US President Joe Biden still maintains that he did the right thing when he opted to withdraw troops from Afghanistan earlier this year.

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He said: "I stand squarely behind my decision. After 20 years, I’ve learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw US forces.

"The truth is, this did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated. So, what’s happened? Afghanistan political leaders gave up and fled the country.

"American troops cannot and should not be fighting the war, and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves."

It comes after a BBC news presenter was called by a Taliban spokesperson while live on-air.

The journalist was able to keep her cool despite the unscheduled call-in and even managed to ask him questions about the drastic situation.

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