Chaos and Desperation at the Kabul Airport

Some Afghans tried to cling onto departing planes. Others crowded the tarmac after security lines were breached. By nightfall, all flights from the Kabul airport were suspended.

Kabul INTERNATIONAL

AIRPORT

Crowds

Crowds

Kabul INTERNATIONAL

AIRPORT

Crowds

Crowds

Kabul int’l

airport

Crowds

Crowds

The tarmac on Monday morning.Source: Maxar Technologies

The U.S. military, which had been evacuating thousands of Americans and other foreign citizens, controls the military side of the airport. But it stopped all flights and tried to gain control of the civilian side after days of chaos and lax security. As panic and sadness intensified about a return to the Taliban’s rule, many Afghans wept, recognizing their chance to escape was slim.

Military side

Held by U.S. forces

Crowds of people

rushed onto tarmac

Runway

Civilian side

U.S. forces moving

to reclaim

Passenger terminal

Kabul

Entrance

Airport Road

Military side

Held by U.S. forces

Crowds of people

rushed onto tarmac

Civilian side

Runway

U.S. forces moving

to reclaim

Passenger Terminal

Kabul

Entrance

Airport Road

Military side

Held by U.S. forces

Crowds of people

rushed onto tarmac

Civilian side

Runway

U.S. forces moving

to reclaim

Passenger Terminal

Entrance

Airport Road

Source: Maxar Technologies

Satellite images taken earlier on Monday showed large crowds of Afghans breaking out of the terminals and across the tarmac, and videos showed some civilians trying to climb into the jet bridge leading to a Kam Air jet.

Source: Associated Press

Runway

Kabul Int’l

Airport

Terminal

Passenger terminal

Military vehicles

Runway

Crowds

Crowds

Military vehicles

Kam Air jet

Runway

Kabul Int’l

Airport

Terminal

Passenger terminal

Runway

Military vehicles

Crowds

Crowds

Military vehicles

Kam Air jet

Runway

Kabul Int’l

Airport

Terminal

Military vehicles

Passenger terminal

Crowds

Kam Air jet

Runway

Crowds

Military vehicles

Source: Maxar Technologies

U.S. forces flew helicopters low over the crowd in a bid to clear the tarmac for planes to take off.

Crowds desperate to flee the country also amassed outside the airport’s gates.

Source: Mattheiu Aikins, via Storyful

Several witnesses said the Taliban were now controlling access to entrances on the civilian side of the airport, preventing people and vehicles from getting in. Satellite imagery showed massive traffic jams near the entrance to the airport. One European worker was told that no one would be allowed to leave the country without permission from the “new government.”

Kabul Int’l

Airport

Entrance

To terminal

To airport

4th Macroryan Main Road

Intersection

one mile south

of airport

Airport entrance

Awali Main Road

Airport Road

To city center

Kabul Int’l

Airport

Entrance

Intersection

one mile south

of airport

To terminal

To airport

Airport entrance

4th Macroryan Main Road

Awali Main Road

Airport Road

To city center

Kabul Int’l

Airport

Entrance

To terminal

Airport entrance

Airport Road

To city center

Intersection

one mile south

of airport

To airport

4th Macroryan Main Road

Awali Main Road

Source: Maxar Technologies