Kabul International Airport has suspended all commercial flights in the face of the chaos that has gripped the Afghan capital in recent hours, resulting in a massive presence at the airfield of citizens seeking an escape route from the Taliban advance.
After hours of confusion, civil aviation authorities have finally confirmed that no commercial flights will leave Hamid Karzai International Airport for the time being. They have also urged the public to avoid creating crowds, according to local media.
NATO reported on Sunday that it was working to secure the airport, a key evacuation point for foreign delegations and citizens trying to leave the country. US forces have also been deployed at the facility as part of an operation involving 6,000 US troops.
Media images show hundreds of people at the airfield, with confusing reports of possible gunfire. A source quoted by the Russian news agency Sputnik already speaks of several dead, at least three according to ‘The Wall Street Journal’.
The situation has been precipitated by the arrival of the Taliban in Kabul, which has led to the ‘de facto’ fall of the current government and the flight from the country of the president, Ashraf Ghani. The insurgents have taken control of most of the country in less than two weeks.
The governments of Spain, Germany and Italy have announced the dispatch of planes to Dubai to repatriate their nationals, Afghan translators and employees.
The French Defence Minister, Florence Parly, has also reported the start of a major transfer campaign, with a view to having several “rotations” between Afghanistan and the United Arab Emirates to speed up the evacuation of French nationals.