The war on terror began on Sept. 11, 2001, with images of men and women falling to their deaths from New York’s twin towers as they jumped from the skyscrapers rather than waiting to die in the smoky grasp of terrorist-inflicted death.
Fast forward one month shy of 20 years from that fateful day, and the world again beholds images of desperate people falling to their death rather than face the death they know is coming at the hands of terrorists.
In contrast to scenes of happy rifle-toting Taliban soldiers strolling through Kabul as they basked in the aftermath of victory, the city’s airport was a mass of seething panic as Afghan citizens who know all too well that to remain is to die tried to board planes helping Western diplomats and others deemed more essential flee Kabul while they still could.
Desperation was so great that some Afghan citizens tried to ride a military transport.
Chaotic scenes as Afghans attempt to cling to US Air Force plane departing from Kabul
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) August 16, 2021
— Disclose.tv 🚨 (@disclosetv) August 16, 2021
Video shows what appears to be at least one person tumbling to death after a plane reached the sky.
WARNING: The following tweets includes graphic imagery that some viewers may find disturbing.
Watch: A video shows the moment Afghan citizens dropped from an aircraft near #Kabul airport after clinging on to a US Air Force plane in an attempt to flee the country amid the #Taliban takeover. #Afghanistan https://t.co/2vc7iuFmgj pic.twitter.com/MdrNlasobn
— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) August 16, 2021
AirLive reported that two people had fallen to their deaths.
— AIRLIVE (@airlivenet) August 16, 2021
“How petrified does an individual have to be to risk everything?” CNN’s Clarissa Ward said in commenting on the video and the fear at the airport, adding that the footage would be “something many Americans and people around the world won’t be able to get out of their minds for quite some time.”
The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that at least three Afghans had been run over and killed while clinging to the side of a U.S. Air Force jet leaving the airport.
At least three Afghans clinging to the side of a U.S. Air Force jet leaving Kabul airport were run over and killed, a U.S. official said https://t.co/9GPgOvLL3p
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) August 16, 2021
Sporadic gunfire rattled frayed nerves, although on at least some occasions the shots were from U.S. soldiers trying to keep some semblance of order by firing into the air.
Hope that Western nations might bring civilians out with diplomats was in stark contrast to reality, Kamal Alam, a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and senior adviser to the Massoud Foundation, told CNBC.
“No one can really leave,” Alam said.
“If you don’t have a visa or passport, which the majority of Afghans don’t, you’re not going,” he said.
Alam said dignitaries were allowed to leave but not everyday citizens.
“All the VIPs were being allowed to fly out first, all their cash was being transported first,” he said.
“So people were seeing this, there was a lot of resentment and anger from the airport security, and that is really where the rot started. That’s when people started saying this government and this president is not worth defending, let’s get out of here,” he said.
Kristen Rouse, president of the New York City Veterans Alliance, said some translators who were the right arm of U.S. forces will be trapped in Afghanistan and killed by the Taliban.
“It is gut-wrenching,” she told CNN. “These are people we relied on, that we promised that we wouldn’t leave them behind. And we’ve abandoned them through bureaucracy and through failing to have a plan to get them out.
“And they’re being hunted. They’re being hunted and murdered.”
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