KABUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A gunbattle erupted at Kabul airport on Monday when Afghan guards exchanged fire with unidentified gunmen and a guard was killed during the clash involving US and German soldiers, the German military said.
Thousands of Afghans and foreigners have been crowding the airport for days, hoping to catch a flight after Taliban fighters captured Kabul on August 15.
Twenty people were killed in the chaos at the airport, mostly in shootings and stampedes as US and international forces tried to evacuate vulnerable citizens and Afghans.
CNN said the clash began when a sniper outside the airport fired on Afghan guards, most of them former government soldiers helping US forces, near the airport’s north gate.
The German military said US and German forces were involved in the clash. She added that three Afghan guards are receiving treatment at a field hospital at the airport.
Two NATO officials at the airport said the situation was under control after the shooting.
The Taliban deployed fighters outside the airport, where they tried to help impose some kind of order.
On Sunday, Taliban fighters defeated crowds at the airport a day after seven Afghans were killed https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/seven-people-killed-crowd-near-kabul-airport-uk-Ministry-defense 08-22-2021 In crowds at the gates as the deadline for the withdrawal of foreign troops approaches.
A Taliban leadership official said foreign forces in Afghanistan had not sought an extension to the August 31 departure deadline, adding that it would not be extended after President Joe Biden said US forces might stay longer to oversee a “difficult and painful” evacuation.
The Taliban seized power just over a week ago as the United States and its allies withdrew its forces after a 20-year war in the weeks following the September 11, 2001 attacks, as American forces pursued al-Qaeda leaders and sought to punish the Taliban. hosts.
The administration of Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, struck a deal with the Taliban last year that allows the United States to withdraw its forces in exchange for security guarantees from the Taliban.
Cruel and painful
Biden said on Sunday that the security situation in Afghanistan is changing rapidly and remains dangerous.
“Let me be clear, it will be difficult and painful to evacuate thousands from Kabul,” Biden said at a White House news briefing, and it would be “no matter when it begins.”
“We have a long way to go and there are still a lot of mistakes.”
Biden said he directed the State Department to contact stranded Americans.
“We are executing a plan to get groups of these Americans to safety and get them safely and effectively to the airport complex…I will say again today what I said before: Any American who wants to come home will get home.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will urge Biden https://www.reuters.com/world/uk/uks-johnson-push-biden-afghan-deadline-extension-2021-08-23 this week to extend the deadline for evacuation from Afghanistan, he said. British defense official, but even if this is agreed, the West will also need the approval of the Taliban.
Fearful of reprisals, terrified Afghans demanded flights from Kabul and a return to a strict version of Islamic law implemented by the Sunni group when it was in power.
On Sunday, the United States requested assistance from six commercial airlines https://www.reuters.com/world/biden-administration-use-commercial-airlines-carry-afghan-evacuees-2021-08-22 to transport people after evacuation from Afghanistan. Biden said people fleeing Afghanistan are receiving assistance from more than two dozen countries on four continents.
A UN spokesman said a UN plane transported 120 people from Kabul to Kazakhstan on Sunday. Among the passengers are UN employees and members of non-governmental organizations working with the United Nations in Afghanistan, he said, adding that this is the second flight of its kind in a week.
Taliban leaders, who have sought to show a more moderate face since the capture of Kabul, have begun talks about forming a government, while their forces focus on the last pockets of opposition.
Taliban fighters recaptured three districts in northern Baghlan province that were briefly held by opposition forces and besieged opposition forces in the Panjshir Valley, an old stronghold of Taliban opponents northeast of Kabul.
“The enemy is surrounded in Panjshir,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Twitter.
Anti-Taliban leader Ahmed Masoud https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/anti-taliban-leader-massoud-says-negotiation-only-way-forward-2021-08-22 said Sunday that he hopes to conduct Talks with the Taliban But his forces in Panjshir – remnants of army units, special forces and militias – were ready to fight.
Mujahid also said the Taliban wanted to “solve the problem through talks”.
In general, peace has prevailed in recent days.
Reuters spoke to eight doctors in hospitals in several cities who said they had not heard of any violence and had not received any casualties from the clashes since Thursday.