It’s really heartbreaking to see what’s happened at Kabul Airport.
In today’s video, I would like to share 2 real stories of some of the last civilian departures out of Kabul, Afghanistan.
My contact Roman arrived in Kabul on 15 August morning to pick up Ukrainian Constanta Airlines An-26 to depart out of Kabul. He arrived in the morning and managed to depart out of Kabul at 12:01pm after an hour of holding and waiting at the runway threshold. Just 30 mins after his departure, Kabul airport started to descend into chaos. Listen to Roman’s story about the lucky escape out of Kabul.
The next story is from PIA A320 captain Maqsood Bijarani, who was caught during the initial chaos at Kabul Airport with Air Traffic Control out of operation (“ATC Zero”). To avoid further security compromise, Captain Maqsood took his own decision to takeoff without ATC assistance or approvals. He managed to keep his flight visual with low fly pass military traffic and took his passengers and crew to safety. “All I could see was military traffic and unauthorized persons entering the airport. Gunships were dropping flares for their protection. The situation was so unpredictable and I had to keep my passengers calm, for which my cabin crew is to be commended as well as the security staff onboard.”
Turkish Airlines Flight TK707 was the last civilian departure on 16 August. Since then, military has taken control of Kabul Airport and the Air Traffic Control. Military transporter such as C-17, A400M and C-130 are ferrying evacuees out of Kabul to nearby Air Force Bases and then civilian airplanes are taking them onwards.