Crowds flock to Kabul airport for ‘Turkish flights’

Crowds of people converged on Kabul Airport on Wednesday evening after hearing rumors that the Turkish embassy was planning to fly out Afghan citizens to help with relief work following the deadly earthquakes in Turkey.

Scenes at the airport were reminiscent of the chaotic evacuation process in August 2021, eyewitnesses said. According to them, large groups of people made it into the airport and also onto the tarmac.

The Taliban opened fire to disperse the crowd when the situation got out of control, sources told Amu. According to them, some people were wounded.

“There was chanting and shouting,” said one Kabul resident who wished to remain anonymous, but who lives close to the airport.

A spokesman for Taliban foreign ministry, Zia Ahmad Takal, and a spokesman for Taliban police command, Khalid Zadran, both rejected the reports about Turkey wanting to fly Afghan citizens out of the country.

One Taliban official posted a video on Twitter on Wednesday night showing the airport and planes, and said the situation had returned to normal.

Monday’s deadly earthquakes, a 7.8 magnitude that was followed a few hours later by a 7.7 magnitude, has left over 11,000 people in Turkey and Syria dead. This toll is expected to rise, authorities have warned.
Sources from an association for Afghan nationals living in Turkey have so far confirmed at least 100 people from Afghanistan are among the dead.

Taliban foreign ministry in a statement on Tuesday announced 15 million afghanis in aid to Turkey and Syria and said it is ready to send people in to help in the search and rescue mission.