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Kabul Airport, symbol of the chaotic US exit from Afghanistan – Health and Lifestyle News – Report by AFR

Tens of thousands of Afghan men, women and children rushed to Kabul airport a year ago in a desperate bid to flee the advancing Taliban who seized power on August 15, 2021.

Images of crowds storming parked planes, climbing onto planes and clinging to a departing US military cargo plane as it taxied down the runway were broadcast on newscasts around the world.

The Taliban’s lightning offensive against government forces prompted a hasty retreat by US-led foreign troops and stunned the international community.

The ensuing chaos was nowhere more evident than at Kabul Airport, as crowds rushed to be evacuated from the country on any available flight.

An AFP photographer captured images of the panic that symbolized Washington’s turbulent retreat after two decades of military intervention that began after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

For days, thousands of people tried to break through barricades set up by the Taliban, Afghan forces and US Marines, who often fired in the air to push them back.

Panic gripped the crowd just days before the US pulled out on August 31.

On August 26, a suicide bomber blew himself up near the airport entrance, killing scores of people, including 13 US soldiers.

The Islamic State jihadist group claimed the attack.

A year later, Taliban authorities allowed AFP photographers access to the airport to photograph the facility and areas that were devastated last year.

The airport has now returned to some sort of normalcy, with some domestic and international flights.

However, significant support is required for major foreign airlines to resume a full flight schedule from the facility.

The Taliban authorities have hired an Abu Dhabi-based company to provide ground handling services and passenger security screening.

Air traffic control is the responsibility of Afghans trained by experts from Uzbekistan and Qatar.

Kabul Airport’s return to full operation is seen as crucial to revitalizing Afghanistan’s ailing economy.

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