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At least seven civilians were reportedly killed Sunday at the international airport in Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan, according to reports.
Word of the fatalities came from Britain’s Defense Ministry, which described safety conditions at the airport as “extremely challenging,” according to The Associated Press.
Details about how the deaths came about, and the identities of the victims, were not disclosed.
A total of at least 12 people have been killed at or near the airport over the past week, either by gunfire or by a stampeding crowd, NATO and Taliban officials have said, according to Reuters. It was unclear if that figure included the seven deaths reported by the British Defense Ministry.
The airport has become the focal point for tens of thousands of people trying to leave Afghanistan since the Taliban took control of the country last weekend. Those attempting to flee include American citizens as well as Afghans who assisted the U.S. over the past two decades of U.S. involvement in the country.
Hundreds of people gather near a U.S. Air Force C-17 transport plane at the perimeter of the international airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Aug. 16, 2021. (Associated Press)
Also Sunday, a flight carrying 168 people reported left the Kabul airport, bound for New Delhi, India, the AP reported.
The passengers included 107 Indian nationals and others whose nationalities were not specified, according to Arindam Bagchi, a spokesman for India’s External Affairs Ministry.
A separate flight carrying 87 Indian nationals and two Nepalese nationals left Kabul on Saturday, biund for Tajikistan, Baghi said, according to the AP.
Meanwhile, a source told Fox News earlier Sunday that gates at the airport had been closed, even to those carrying valid documentation.
“All the gates are closed for entry even with papers,” the source said. “No food, no water. This is a slow burn to a very bad situation.
“All the gates are closed for entry even with papers. No food, no water. This is a slow burn to a very bad situation.”
“We just can’t believe how inept our leadership is,” the source continued. “They have no appreciation for what it takes for visa-holding Afghans to even get to the gate.”
Incidents at the airport may have stemmed from Taliban attempts to try to impose order at the airport, where chaos has reigned over several days.
Taliban personnel were seen trying to get people to form orderly lines and preventing crowds from forming around the airport’s perimeter, Reuters reported.
The U.S. military also maintained a presence at the airport, with about 5,800 troops still there, according to Army Maj. Gen. William Taylor, Reuters reported.
Long hours, no food
A second source who spoke to Fox News – an American mom trapped by the Taliban who requested anonymity – shared her account of conditions at the airport.
She spoke about people she knew, some traveling with children, who have spent long hours at the airport – in some cases with no or little access to food.
She said they were being encouraged by U.S. soldiers to wait out the delays before they can board flights out of Kabul.
“I still have, you know, some of my folks there that work for us. They were provided with all these letters to apply for SIV (special immigrant visa),” she said. “And I am … and I was in contact with some of them. They went through the airport. They managed to turn on their phones and they showed me what chaos is going on over there.
“They went through the airport. They managed to turn on their phones and they showed me what chaos is going on over there.”
“And they stay outside the airport for more than three days. Most of them they have kids, you know, under 4 years old. So they made it through the airport checkpoint and they went inside the airport, but they stayed there for three days. They don’t have no food. You don’t have no water. You have little kids that need milk.
“So after staying inside the Karzai, you know, the KIA (Kabul International Airport), which now it’s HKIA (Hamid Karzai International Airport), they had to leave. … He told me the American soldiers said, ‘Listen, you’re almost there if you can stick around another 24 hours where you might have the chance to board an aircraft.’”
But lack of food, especially for the children, she said, was making any choice to stay at the airport a difficult one, she said.
Fox News’ Shannon Bream, Michael Ruiz and Sara Ballou and The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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