Evacuation flights resume after the dispersal of crowds: Kabul


Military aircraft evacuating diplomats and civilians from Afghanistan resumed early Tuesday (August 17) after the runway at Kabul airport was cleared of hundreds of people trying to exit the country after the Taleban took control.
A day after dramatic scenes in which US police fired rounds to disperse crowds and individuals clung to a US military transport jet as it taxied for take-off, a Western security official told Reuters that the number of civilians at the airport had thinned down.
The official stated, “Many people who were here yesterday have gone home.”
Witnesses reported hearing intermittent gunshots coming from the airport area, but the streets of Kabul looked to be peaceful. On Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the Indian Foreign Ministry in New Delhi said that Indian embassy staff in Kabul, including the ambassador, were being evacuated from the Afghan capital.
“In light of the current circumstances, our ambassador in Kabul and his Indian staff have been ordered to return to India immediately,” spokesman Arindam Bagchi said on Twitter.
Major-General Hank Taylor, a logistics specialist on the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in Washington that the airport reopened at 1935 GMT on Monday (3.35 am Tuesday Singapore time), adding that the US was taking over air traffic control at the airport for military and commercial planes.
According to sources, some 2,500 US soldiers are in Kabul to assist in evacuating US employees and Afghans who have worked for them, with more forces likely to come. Flights were halted for most of Monday after at least five individuals were killed. However, it was unclear if they were killed by gunfire or crushed in a stampede.


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