Afghanistan: Firings reported at Kabul airport, I-Day rally in Asadabad
Continuous gunshots were heard from the Kabul airport as Afghans continued to gather outside its gate in hopes of fleeing the country. In a separate incident, several were killed at an Independence Day rally in Asadabad—the capital of the Kunar province—after firings by the Taliban triggered a stampede. Several chaotic incidents have been reported from across Afghanistan since the Taliban seized power Sunday.
12 killed amid chaos at Kabul airport
At least 12 people have reportedly been killed around Kabul airport since the chaos broke out on Sunday as people rushed to the airport for a way out of the capital city. According to Taliban officials, the deaths were caused either by gunshots or stampedes. However, thousands of Afghans and foreign nationals, including Americans, are still waiting to be evacuated.
Taliban urges people to leave Kabul airport
Taliban on Thursday urged Afghans to leave the Kabul airport, warning that they did not wish to hurt anyone. People who do not have the legal right to travel have been asked to go home. "We don't want to hurt anyone at the airport," a Taliban official said. According to the Taliban, commanders and soldiers had fired into the air to disperse the crowd.
'It's a complete disaster; Taliban were firing in the air'
Witnesses told Reuters that the Taliban gunmen were preventing people from entering the airport compound. "It's a complete disaster. The Taliban were firing into the air, pushing people, beating them with AK-47s," Reuters quoted a person who tried to leave Wednesday.
Several killed in Asadabad; Taliban fired at protesters in Jalalabad
Several people were killed Thursday in Asadabad when Taliban fighters fired on people waving the national flag at an Independence Day rally. "Our flag, our identity," the protesters cheered. It remains unclear whether the casualties were due to firing or stampede. On Wednesday, three people were killed and 12 others injured when the gunmen fired at protesters who removed the Taliban flag in Jalalabad.
Taliban celebrates I-Day as victory against US
Afghanistan gained independence from British rule on August 19, 1919. However, the Taliban marked Thursday as the day it had beaten "the arrogant of power of the world" in the United States. The Taliban gained ground in Afghanistan Sunday as the US withdrew its troops.
Chaos at Kabul airport as Afghans scramble to escape
Since the Taliban's hostile takeover on Sunday, desperate Afghans have been rushing to flee the country. Reportedly, Afghan women were throwing their babies over barbed wires, asking foreign soldiers to take them. A horrific video from Kabul's airport showed two people falling from a plane that was mid-air. A separate video showed desperate Afghans clinging to a plane as it took off.
Taliban negotiating with Afghan politicians to form government
Even though the Taliban seized Afghanistan, it is now putting efforts to form an "inclusive government" in the country. While Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has fled the country, the group is now reaching out to former President Hamid Karzai and other leaders to form a government. However, the Taliban is still facing opposition from Panjshir leader Amad Massoud and Afghanistan's former Vice-President Amrullah Saleh.