Afghans Cling to US Plane, Fall to Their Deaths

Disturbing footage shows people pressed against a US Air Force C-17 as it takes off
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 16, 2021 2:06 PM CDT

The videos are unbearable to watch. In one, people desperate to flee Afghanistan cling to the side of a US Air Force plane as it tries to take off. "How petrified does an individual have to be to risk everything and just try to physically crush yourself onto the outside of an airplane?" CNN reporter Clarissa Ward asks. There's more video, and it's more disturbing. One clip (warning: graphic) posted to social media by the Afghan Asvaka News agency shows people falling to their deaths from the C-17 US aircraft, Newsweek reports. They fell onto houses, and later videos show people rushing to the places where they fell, then carrying their bodies away.

The scenes are part of the chaotic situation unfolding at the Hamid Karzai airport in Kabul. As of Monday afternoon Eastern time, seven deaths at the airport had been reported, a figure that includes those who fell from the plane, reports the AP. The total also includes two people fatally shot by US forces. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the pair had weapons, but no other details were provided. More than 1,000 additional US troops were headed to the airport to back up the 2,500 troops already there. For the time being, all flights—civilian and commercial—have been halted until the runways are cleared. (More Afghanistan stories.)

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