US troops scramble to create security perimeter in final bid to defend Kabul Airport
Gunshots heard at Kabul airport as Afghans attempt to flee country
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Joe Biden deployed a small contingent of US soldiers to Afghanistan to speed up evacuation efforts amid Taliban forces closing in on the capital. Militant forces entered Kabul on Sunday, precipitating the uncertain situation further and pushing hundreds to rush to Hamid Karzai airport in a desperate attempt to flee the country. Footage from the airfield showed a group of US soldiers attempting to establish a security perimeter “their only remaining safe place in Afghanistan.”
In the video, two sharpshooters can be seen laying on the ground beside what appears to be an open-back van laden with covered materials.
Other servicemen can be seen taking cover behind the material keeping guard.
Another part of the footage shows a large group of soldiers waiting alongside civilians next to a commercial plane.
Reports from Kabul claim Taliban forces set up several checkpoints on the road to Karzai airport, with reports of shots fired in some parts of Kabul.
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Washington Street Journal Afghanistan correspondent Sune Engel Rassmussen reported at least three people have died amid the chaotic scenes at Kabul airport.
Mr Rasmussen wrote: “At least 3 civilians, including a woman, were killed by gunfire amid the chaos at Kabul airport, where the U.S. military has taken control of security.
“Thousands of Afghans have swarmed the airport hoping for evacuation flights.”
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said British and US forces, as well as forces from other nations, are continuing to fly people out of Kabul airport, while viral footage of people climbing onto planes had been taken from the civilian side of the airport.
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Mr Wallace BBC Breakfast: “We put in over 600 forces yesterday, today and over the weekend to make sure that we can keep a secure part of the airport functioning and, at the same time, to effectively process, manage and escort people onto our flights to get them out of Afghanistan.”
The Defence Secretary said the Government was aiming to fly out a further 1,500 people over the next 24 to 36 hours or slightly longer.
He added work is underway to “remove any bureaucratic barriers” to make sure people who pass screenings are able to be flown to the UK.
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