The gates of hell: Afghan women beg US soldiers for help through the fence of Kabul airport as Taliban fire into the air and whip people to control crowds – while UK will evacuate 1,000 today… but White House FAILS to guarantee it will get citizens out
Women were filmed pleading with US troops that the ‘Taliban are coming’ in footage that appeared to have been taken at Kabul airport this morning as thousands of desperate Afghans try to flee Islamist rule
Panicked screams mixed with the sound of gunfire at Kabul airport today amid fresh chaos as tens of thousands of Afghans desperate to escape Taliban rule pleaded with troops to be allowed on the only planes out of the country.
Women were filmed reaching their hands through iron railings towards US troops while screaming ‘the Taliban are coming’ in footage being circulated on Afghan social media accounts.
It is thought the footage was filmed at the northern military side of Hamid Karzai airport, where around 25,000 people are gathered, with more footage revealing Taliban guards firing over the heads of men, women and children crouched in the road overnight.
Meanwhile those trying to get into the civilian south side of the airport – where another 25,000 are thought to have massed – faced patrols of Taliban gunmen on the roads leading up to the airport, before being funnelled between concrete barriers towards a large metal gate under the watchful eye of Taliban gunmen.
Britain is attempting to fly 1,000 people out of the airport today on seven flights, according to head of the armed forces General Sir Nick Carter, who warned the next 24 hours are ‘critical’ for getting people out of the country.
Meanwhile Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged to take on 25,000 Afghan refugees – a promise mirrored by the likes of Canada which says it will take 20,000,Germany which will take 10,000, and the US which says 80,000 visas may be issued – though serious questions are being asked over whether the targets are realistic.
At the current rate of evacuation – just a few hundred people each day – it would take months to evacuate that number, assuming all of those people can even reach the airport and convince guards to allow them in.
This morning in the Commons, Sir Keir Starmer confronted Mr Johnson with reports from NGOs that an evacuation plane left Kabul airport today with hardly any passengers because evacuees could not reach it.
Witnesses at the airport gates today said that very few people were being allowed through, with dozens trying to push through the gate each time it was opened – prompting nervy guard to fire into the air.
Once on the other side of the gate, a further four checkpoints await with one airport employee saying it took them two days to pass all the way through.
A source at the airport told MailOnline that some people trying to get into the airport are carrying documents, mostly for nearby Gulf states, but the vast majority were terrified citizens with no paperwork who hoped to get out of the country after seeing images of people running on to American planes on the news.
With Taliban fighters now effectively providing airport security. other sources have told MailOnline that translators and others with legitimate visas are too afraid to risk trying to get to the runway – fearing the Islamists will simply haul them away.
Some who have braved the gates told of how they were crushed, trampled and molested amid the crowds without making it on to a flight. Others said Taliban fighters beat the crowd with sticks, lengths of rubber hose, knotted rope, and rifle butts, often pointing guns at people and on at least on occasion opening fire.
In a sign of how dire the situation has become, White House spokesman Jen Psaki was forced to admit Tuesday that there is no guarantee that all US citizens and visa holders will be able to leave the country before troops pull out on August 31.
Taliban gunmen have surrounded the airport (pictured) with gunshots fired over the heads of arriving passengers, with British forces admitting that evacuations are only taking place with their ‘consent’
Taliban fighters have now encircled the airport in Kabul and are deciding who gets to come in and who has to stay out. Checkpoints have been set up on both the civilian south side of the airport and the military north side, with gunshots fired in both locations to keep crowds back
While thousands of people have arrived at Kabul airport trying to get on flights out of the country (pictured), some western visa holders on the ground have said they are in hiding nearby for fear Taliban gunmen will target them
Taliban gunmen patrol through crowds of desperate Afghans at Kabul airport today, as people try to board planes out of the country fearing for their safety under Islamist rule