Video footage shot near Kabul’s airport shows children being lifted over crowds in order to reach British troops, as people desperately try to leave Taliban-controlled Afghanistan behind.
According to a senior British officer quoted by UK broadcaster Sky News, some mothers had even resorted to throwing their babies over fences topped with razor wire, such is the extent of their desperation.
"It was terrible: Women were throwing their babies over the razor wire, asking the soldiers to take them, some got caught in the wire," the officer said.
One video shows people passing a baby over a crowd towards British paratroopers at a compound at Kabul’s airport, where they are separated by a large reel of razor wire. Other young children can be seen lifted above the crowd towards the soldiers.
Despite the desperation felt by some of the Afghans trapped in the now Taliban-run country, forcing many to risk the lives of themselves or their children, the UK government has said it will not accept unaccompanied minors.
UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told Sky News that Britain could not evacuate unaccompanied minors.
“We can't just take a minor on their own," he said. "You will find as you see in the footage... the child was taken – that will be because the family will be taken as well."
Thousands are trying to flee Afghanistan as the Taliban completed a lightning-fast takeover of the country last week, finally capturing Kabul on Sunday. This week the UK announced it will resettle 20,000 Afghan refugees, with 5,000 people accepted this year.