Human Rights & Public Liberties

Human Rights & Public Liberties

Published on: 13 Jan, 2021

Chaos, desperation at Kabul airport as Afghans attempt to flee

Published on: 22 August, 2021
Kabul airport, August 2921 [Al Jazeera]

Kabul airport, August 2921 [Al Jazeera]

Scenes of chaos, violence and desperation continue to be seen at Kabul airport.

Thousands of Afghans remain at the airport in Kabul waiting for a chance to leave after the Taliban has taken over Afghanistan.  

Since the Taliban is in control of Afghanistan’s land border, the country can only be left through Kabul airport. US  President Jo Biden has described the evacuations as one of the most ‘difficult’ airlifts ever.

Food, water and other supplies are in scarce supply. After five days of waiting this means that people are increasingly desperate.

Among the thousands of people in Kabul are trying to flee the country are civilians who assisted foreign soldiers or groups who now fear retribution.

Those who have worked for the government or other foreign powers, as well as journalists and activists, say they are fearful of reprisals and need to be evacuated.

A Taliban official told Reuters news agency the chaos at the airport was not the responsibility of the group, saying “the West could have had a better plan to evacuate”.

Many people are struggling to obtain visas to leave Afghanistan. Dozens of English language teachers who worked for the British Council training Afghan school teachers are desperate to leave but have been denied visas to travel to the UK.

More men

The majority of people who have been trying to flee are men. Commenting on this phenomenon, Robert Crews, a Stanford history professor who has written extensively about Afghanistan, told Insider: ‘Afghan men are most likely to have worked with foreign organizations as translators, drivers, security guards, and in other roles dominated by men. Many of them justifiably fear reprisal from the Taliban, who have long condemned such people as traitors’.

‘Another factor appears to be that many women are simply staying home because they do not want to be vulnerable to abuse at the hands of the Taliban’, said Crews.