Chaos at Kabul Airport in Afghanistan
Chaos at Kabul Airport in Afghanistan

Chaos at Kabul Airport in Afghanistan – Civilian Airport Closed

Thousands of Afghans scramble to the Kabul airport, Afghanistan. The airport is the only way out for now, as the Taliban has encircled the capital.

Commercial flights from Kabul were cancelled on Monday, as Afghanistan's Civil Aviation Authority (ACAA) announced Kabul airspace had been released to the military. 

On its website, the ACAA announced the "civilian side of Hamid Karzai International Airport (Kabul airport) is closed until further notice".

Civilian aircraft over Afghanistan were advised to reroute because any transit through Kabul-controlled airspace, which includes all of Afghanistan, was likely to be uncontrolled.

"There will be no commercial flights from Hamid Karzai Airport to prevent looting and plundering. Please do not rush to the airport."

Kabul Airport Authority

Several flights include Emirates and FlyDubai were turned away yesterday.

A Turkish Airlines B777-300/ER was able to land this morning and the return Flight, TK707, was the last civilian airplane that took off today.

Flight tracking website Radarbox showed commercial flights, including an Air India flight from Chicago to Delhi and a Terra Avia plane, traveling from Baku to Delhi that had changed course to avoid an Afghan overflight.

US troops securing the Kabul airport reportedly fired shots in the air Monday; as chaotic scenes unfolded with Afghans scrambling onto the tarmac, in the hopes of catching a flight out of the country after the Taliban took charge overnight.

"The crowd was out of control, as hundreds of civilians ran onto the tarmac. The firing was only done to defuse the chaos."

An official told Reuters

Civilians were sitting on the main landing gear bays of 02-1109, a C-17A of the USAF involved in the evacuation of Afghan civilians almost 2 hours ago. Most of them fell on the runway, but three fell from sky and died immediately.

Since morning, 7 C-17As of USAF have been involved in the evacuation of US citizens & troops as well as Afghan civilians. The registrations reported are 00-0176, 02-1108, 02-1109, 04-4132, 04-4133, 08-8190 and 10-0215. Each airplane is now evacuating 500 to 800 people. Most of them are destined for Al Dhafra Air Force Base in the UAE.

At this time, the airport is the only viable exit available out of the country; as many border crossings have been closed, while others have fallen under Taliban control.

More Military Rescue on the Way

Germany's Defense Ministry said early on Monday that the first A400M military transport plane had taken off from an airfield near Hanover, bound for Kabul, "to bring those in need of protection from Afghanistan to safety". 

New Zealand mentioned they will be sending a C-130 military aircraft and personnel to evacuate New Zealanders still in the country, along with the Afghans who worked alongside the New Zealand defence forces and their dependents.

Cover Photo: Twitter/Babak Taghvaee