Reports of crushing and crushing injuries, triggered in part by Taliban fighters firing into the air to control the crowd, have highlighted the chaotic and sometimes deadly situation in Kabul as thousands seek refuge before the end of the airlift operation.
The deteriorating situation at Hamid Karzai International Airport was confirmed earlier Sunday by the UK Ministry of Defense (MoD), which said seven people were killed in the area as large crowds gathered to attempt to flee the Taliban takeover.
Western countries are in a hurry to rescue thousands of people after the Islamist group took control of Afghanistan in just over a week.
The anonymous NATO source, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said: “The crisis outside Kabul airport is unfortunate. Our goal is to evacuate all foreigners as soon as possible.
Crowds have multiplied at the airport every day for the past week, hampering operations as the United States and other countries attempt to evacuate thousands of its diplomats and civilians as well as scores of Afghans.
“Our forces maintain a strict distance with the areas outside the Kabul airport to avoid any clash with the Taliban,” added the NATO official.
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.
It comes as Defense Secretary Ben Wallace has said “no nation will be able to get everyone out” of the country, with US President Joe Biden’s August 31 target date making the rescue mission even more urgent. by the time.
Write in the Mail on Sunday, the Cabinet Minister said: “If the American timetable is maintained, we have no time to waste in getting the majority of people out who are waiting.
“Maybe the Americans will be allowed to stay longer, and they will have our full support if they do. “
Mr Wallace said there were “too many people at the airport” on Saturday, forcing the US side of the operation to suspend access.
Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy said Labor MPs had heard of people ‘being shot, beaten and raped’ while waiting to be called back to the airport, while the city’s Baron Hotel, where many British nationals are urged to surrender for treatment, is blocked by the Taliban.
The Defense Ministry’s Operation Pitting evacuation mission is supported by 1,000 British troops and nearly 4,000 people have been repatriated from Afghanistan since 13 August.