Aerial Photos Show the Chaotic Scenes at Kabul Airport

Hundreds of people can be seen crowding along runways trying to escape Taliban rule.
August 17, 2021, 1:10pm
A satellite image shows people standing on runways at Kabul airport. Photo: Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies.
A satellite image shows people standing on runways at Kabul airport. Photo: Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies.

Dramatic aerial photos taken over Kabul airport on Monday morning show hundreds of people attempting to flee Afghanistan as the Taliban took control of the capital and consequently the country this week. 

Thousands of Afghans fearing for their future rushed to Hamid Karzai International Airport yesterday, with many attempting to board flights to escape the impending political situation, as the Taliban has taken over the country at lightning speed following the US military withdrawal.

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A satellite image shows cars backed up near Kabul airport. Photo: Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies.

The aerial photos from American satellite company Maxar Technologies, taken at 10.36AM local time on Tuesday the 16th of August show huge traffic jams at a junction outside the airport and massive crowds of people moving across the runways, attempting to board flights.

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While one Turkish airliner prepares to takeoff from the airfield, security forces can be seen near one of the airport’s main runways attempting to prevent crowds of people from moving toward other aircraft and from blocking flight operations. Photo: Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies.

There were harrowing scenes at the airport yesterday as people attempted to board already overcrowded planes. A video circulating on social media shows men clambering onto the overhead gangway of a plane attempting to board. Disturbing footage appeared to show three people who had clambered onto aircraft falling to their deaths as they took flight. And images showed around 640 Afghan civilians crammed into a single US Air Force plane in a desperate bid to escape. 

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A junction near Kabul airport. Photo: Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies.

Afghanistan braces for the unknown now after Taliban fighters entered Kabul on Sunday, completing a rapid seizure of power that has played out over the past few weeks as US and other western military forces withdrew from the country.