12 people killed as Taliban urge people to leave Kabul airport

Those killed have died as a result of either gunshots or stampedes in Kabul, Taliban and NATO officials said on Thursday

The Taliban have been urging people to leave Kabul airport after 12 people had been killed there since Sunday.

They died in and around the airport as a result of either gunshots or a stampede, both Taliban and NATO officials have said.

Thousands of people are still trying to flee the nation of Afghanistan via the capital city’s Hamid Karzai International Airport.

But the Taliban have warned people to leave and return to their homes, with an official from the militant group saying: “We don’t want to hurt anyone at the airport.”

This comes after the UK government will work with other countries to resettle up to 20,000 Afghans in the UK, Home Secretary Priti Patel has said. A new scheme will see up to 5,000 Afghans eligible within the first year, with thousands more being able to move to the UK in the long term.

New video footage has shown crowds of people gathered at the airport at night, while gunshots are fired into the air.

Scenes in Kabul have become increasingly desperate within recent days, with new footage showing a young child being passed to a foreign soldier in the hope that they may be able to escape the country.

Another clip, thought to have been filmed on Tuesday, has captured shots being fired near large crowds, with Taliban fighters kicking those who are trying to flee.

It comes following reports that several people have been killed in the eastern city of Asadabad for waving Afghanistan’s national flag in protest.

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Thursday is Afghanistan’s Independence Day, with the Taliban claiming that they are marking it by celebrating the beating of the “arrogant of power of the world”.

Fighters have been reported to have fired shots at people for not waving the Taliban’s flag, but it is not clear whether they had died as a result of gunfire or from a stampede, witnesses have said.

Protests have also broken out within Jalalabad and Paktia province, but no serious acts of violence has been reported as of yet.

At the airport, foreign embassies have set up evacuation centres within a compound, including the UK and US who have both committed to airlifting thousands of their own nationals out of the country, as well as eligible Afghans within the coming weeks.

In terms of numbers, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said that he committed to “calling forward nearly 2,000 people” to board evacuation flights in the coming days.

Asked about footage of parents offering up their children to be rescued by Western soldiers, he said the armed forces cannot take youngsters without their families.

“We can’t just take a minor on their own,” he said.

This comes after the Taliban is reportedly “cooperating” with British military forces as they work to evacuate people from the nation of Afghanistan and is not behaving in a “medieval way”, the chief of the UK defence staff has now said.

Thousands of people have gathered outside Kabul airport, scrambling to get on flights.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden has committed to keeping US troops on the ground for as long as it takes to get every last American out.

Speaking to ABC News, he said: “If there’s American citizens left, we’re gonna stay till we get them all out.

Defending the decision to pull out troops ahead of the 20-year anniversary of 9/11, he said there was “no way” to do it “without chaos ensuing”.

The UK has promised to take 20,000 Afghan refugees, with military flights arriving at RAF Brize Norton each day.