Hell of the choke point: Herded like animals, desperate Afghans are squeezed between a wall and shipping containers… as they queue for salvation from the pandemonium of Kabul airport
- Afghans seeking new life in Britain surrounded by enemy forces at Kabul airport
- Those fleeing Afghanistan have been forced to navigate Taliban checkpoints
- Havoc already led to the deaths of at least seven people, crushed in stampedes
Penned between shipping containers and a concrete wall in 32C heat – it’s hard to believe they are the lucky ones.
And yet these desperate Afghans, many seeking a new life in Britain, still remain surrounded by enemy forces as they attempt to get into Kabul airport.
Just to reach this point, those fleeing have been forced to navigate Taliban checkpoints, where volatile low-level fighters are reportedly prone to attacks on women and locals trying to make it to the airport.
1. Intimidating Taliban guard armed militia keep watch on the crowd
2. Cramped Queueing Passage Afghans line up in sweltering heat behind ship containers
3. British soldier checks papers Troops wait at end of the passageway
The astonishing images show the journey Afghans with links to the UK must take just to make it on to precious RAF flights out of the country. The havoc has already led to the deaths of at least seven people, crushed in stampedes to flee.
One Taliban commander – attempting to control crowds alongside the British Army – admitted the militia were ‘making it up as they went along’ as they had never been forced, in 20 years of conflict, to deal with ‘crowd control’.
It came as the new regime said yesterday that Afghan nationals will no longer be allowed to leave the country. However, hope remained last night that individuals already in the queues around the airport may still be able to escape.
Yesterday, many entitled to return to Britain were struggling to make any progress. Mohammad Tanai, 29, returned to his native Kabul from Luton – where he has lived for the past decade and has a residence permit – in June to visit his wife, Farida.
4. on the runway awaiting flights Groups, circled, make it on to the tarmac
Taliban fighters control crowds approaching the British controlled gate at Kabul Airport, Afghanistan
With a return flight to London booked for September, he attempted to leave early last week with his three-year-old daughter Sufia when the Taliban seized Kabul. However, after six days sleeping in his car near the airport compound and attempting to reach British officials, he remains stuck in the Afghan capital.
Mr Tanai, who works in a takeaway restaurant, said: ‘I came here with my mum for a holiday and we left my dad and brothers at home. I have witnessed beatings, people getting hurt as others rush in.
‘As soon as crowds move the Taliban start firing their weapons and it is scary. I want to leave but I also don’t want to leave my wife here as I can see the situation.’
Ayesha, from Manchester, held her six-month-old baby and a British passport as she waited to be processed at Kabul airport. After attending a wedding in Afghanistan, she now cannot return home.
‘I have been coming to the airport for the past three days as me and my children are terrified of the Taliban roaming in the streets with guns,’ she said. The extraordinary photos from Hamid Karzai International Airport were captured by an ITV News team.
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