Among the thousands of Afghans who came running to Kabul airport yesterday, over 600 of them managed to fly out in a US Air Force transport plane at the last minute.
Photos of the a Air Force’s C-17 Globemaster III with hundreds of panicked Afghans sitting on the floor of the aircraft have been shared widely.
All of them including women and children do not appear to be carrying any luggage, implying they have left all their belongings behind while fleeing from the Taliban.
The transport aircraft took a total of 640 Afghans, believed to be among the most people ever flown in the C-17, according to the news website Defense One.
This aircraft flew to Qatar, where the Afghans disembarked, the website reported.
Several US Air Force planes struggled initially to take off from Kabul airport yesterday after the facility was overran by desperate Afghans looking for a way out, a day after the Taliban entered Kabul and took control of the city.
Two Apache attack helicopters were seen in visuals flying low over the tarmac to disperse the crowd and clear the runway for the C-17’s take-off run.
On Monday morning, another video of hundreds of Afghans jostling to climb into an aircraft to fly out of the country amid the Taliban’s return became the latest defining image of desperation in the war-torn country.
Afghanistan is now firmly under Taliban control. The government forces collapsed without the support of the US military, which invaded in 2001 after the September 11 attacks and toppled the Taliban for its support of Al Qaeda.