The image of a United States Air Force aircraft packed with 640 people went viral on social media, bringing out the sense of fear among people as the Taliban returned to power in the country after nearly two decades.
Defence officials have said the plane was not intending to carry so many people, however, panicked Afghans rushed into the open ramp of the aircraft to flee the country. Instead of asking them to get off, the crew made the decision to take off for Qatar.
This is believed to be among the most number of people flown by a C-17, a massive military cargo operated by the US and its allies.
A day after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, chaotic scenes unfolded at the Kabul Airport as people tried to flee the country.
In fact, such was the desperation to escape, two Afghans had tied themselves to the wheels of an aircraft on Monday and fell to their death after the plane took off.
Some clung to the side of a departing US military jet as it rolled down the tarmac Monday. Scores of people ran alongside the giant US Air Force plane at the Kabul airport, and some managed to get a foothold before it took off.
As the US military and others continued evacuation flights, Afghans swarmed over the international airport’s tarmac. Some climbed into aircraft parked on the taxiway, while others dangled precariously off a jet bridge.
US troops took positions to guard the active runway, but the crowd stormed past them and their armored vehicles. Gunshots rang out. As one U.S. Air Force Boeing C-17 Globemaster III tried to take off, a helicopter did low runs in front of it to try to drive people off the runway.