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Updated on: Wednesday, August 18, 2021, 09:06 PM IST

Taliban soldiers fire into air to disperse crowds at Kabul airport; all you need to know

A Taliban fighter sits on the back of a vehicle with a machine gun in front of the main gate leading to the Afghan presidential palace, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Aug. 16, 2021.  | Photo: AP/PTI

A Taliban fighter sits on the back of a vehicle with a machine gun in front of the main gate leading to the Afghan presidential palace, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Aug. 16, 2021. | Photo: AP/PTI

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As people continue to rush at Kabul airport, the Taliban soldiers have now started to fire into the air to disperse the crowd from the airport. According to Reuters, Taliban commanders and soldiers were firing into the air to disperse crowds at Kabul airport, a Taliban official said.

“We have no intention to injure anyone,” he told the news agency.

Massive chaos continued outside the airport, the official said, adding that the Western forces’ “chaotic evacuation plan” from Afghanistan was to blame.

Notably, a photojournalist for the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday captured graphic images of wounded Afghans after Taliban fighters used lethal weapons to control the crowd at the airport. "Taliban fighters use gunfire, whips, sticks and sharp objects to maintain crowd control over thousands of Afghans who continue to wait for a way out, on airport road. At least half dozen were wounded while I was there, including a woman and her child," tweeted Marcus Yam.

On the other hand, the Taliban's promises of "safe passage" to the airport for Afghans trying to flee the country have been undermined by reports of women and children being beaten and whipped as they try to pass through checkpoints set up by the militants, The Guardian reported.

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The US says the Taliban has committed to "safe passage" for people who want to reach the airport. But reports from the Afghan capital say that there have been incidents of violence at the checkpoints on Airport Road, including photographs of a woman and a child with head injuries after reportedly being beaten and whipped for trying to cross a checkpoint.

Sources in Kabul told The Guardian that the Taliban are checking the documents and forcibly turning some people around at the checkpoints, refusing to let them reach the airport.

The Taliban swept into Kabul and seized power on Sunday after President Ashraf Ghani left the country, bringing an end to a two-decade campaign in which the US and its allies had tried to transform Afghanistan.

Earlier, the Taliban pledged to protect the rights of women and minorities and assured that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan would not pose a threat to any country.

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Published on: Wednesday, August 18, 2021, 08:42 PM IST
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