Seven Afghans killed in chaos at Kabul airport

Seven other Afghan civilians have been killed in the chaos surrounding Kabul International Airport, the British military said on Sunday, showing the danger still facing those trying to flee the Taliban takeover of the country.

The deaths came as a new perceived threat from the Islamic State group’s affiliate in Afghanistan saw US military planes make quick combat landings and dives at the airport surrounded by Taliban fighters.

Other planes fired flares on takeoff, in an attempt to confuse possible homing missiles.

A US Navy assists evacuees at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan (Sgt Isaiah Campbell / US Marine Corps / AP)

The changes came as the U.S. Embassy issued a new security warning on Saturday, telling citizens not to travel to Kabul airport without individual instruction from a U.S. government official.

Officials declined to provide further details on the ISIS threat, but described it as significant.

They said there had not yet been any confirmed attacks by militants, who fought the Taliban in the past.

The British military confirmed the deaths of seven civilians in Kabul on Sunday.

There has been crushing and crushing injuries in the crowds, especially as Taliban fighters fire in the air to chase those desperate to catch a flight out of the country.

The UK Ministry of Defense said in a statement: “Conditions on the ground remain extremely difficult, but we are doing everything possible to handle the situation in the safest and most secure manner possible.”

Afghanistan left behind
Hundreds of people gather near a US Air Force C-17 transport plane along the perimeter of Kabul International Airport, Afghanistan (Shekib Rahmani / AP)

Thousands of people rushed to the airport last Monday in chaotic scenes that saw the United States attempting to clear the runway with low-flying attack helicopters. Several Afghans died as they were suspended from the side of a US military cargo plane.

It was difficult to know the scale of the deaths and injuries due to the chaos.

The Biden administration is considering asking U.S. commercial airlines to provide planes and crews to help transport Afghan refugees once they are evacuated from their country by military planes.

As part of the voluntary Civil Reserve Air Fleet program, which emerged as a result of the Berlin Airlift, civilian airlines are bolstering the capabilities of military aircraft during a national defense crisis.

The US Transportation Command said on Saturday it issued a warning to US carriers on Friday evening regarding the possible activation of the program. If called, commercial airlines would transport evacuees from crossing stations outside Afghanistan to another country or from Dulles International Airport in Virginia to US military bases.

Afghan Baradar
Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar returned from Qatar to Kandahar earlier this week (Alexander Zemlianichenko / Pool / AP)

Meanwhile, the Taliban’s top political leader has arrived in Kabul for talks on forming a new government.

The presence of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who returned from Qatar to Kandahar earlier this week, was confirmed by a Taliban official.

Baradar negotiated the 2020 militant peace deal with the United States, and he is now expected to play a key role in negotiations between the Taliban and Afghan government officials that the militant group toppled.

Afghan officials familiar with talks in the capital said the Taliban have said they will not make any announcements about their government until the August 31 deadline for the withdrawal of US troops.

Abdullah Abdullah, a senior official in the ousted government, tweeted that on Saturday he and ex-President Hamid Karzai met with the Taliban’s acting governor for Kabul, who “assured us he would do everything possible for security of the population “of the city.

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