The UK Ministry of Defense has said in a statement on Sunday that “conditions on the ground remain extremely challenging but we are doing everything we can to manage the situation as safely and securely as possible”.
Mod added: “Our sincere thoughts are with the families of the seven Afghan civilians who have sadly died in crowds in Kabul.”
A panicked crush of people trying to enter Kabul’s international airport killed seven Afghan civilians in the crowds, the British military said on Sunday, showing the danger still posed to those trying to flee the Taliban’s takeover of the country.
The deaths come as a new, perceived threat from the Islamic State group affiliate in Afghanistan has seen US military planes do rapid, diving combat landings at the airport surrounded by Taliban fighters. Other aircraft have shot off flares on take-off, an effort to confuse possible heat-seeking missiles targeting the planes.
The US Embassy issued a new security warning on Saturday telling citizens not to travel to the Kabul airport without US government representative instruction. Officials declined to provide more specifics about the IS threat but described it as significant. They said there have been no confirmed attacks as yet by the militants, who have battled the Taliban in the past.
On Sunday, the British military acknowledged the seven deaths of civilians in the crowds in Kabul. There have been stampedes and crushing injuries in the crowds, especially as Taliban fighters fire into the air to drive away those desperate to get on any flight out of the country.
The United States was to blame for the chaos at Kabul’s airport as thousands of Afghans clamored to be evacuated, a senior Taliban official said Sunday.
According to a Taliban official, Amir Khan Mutaqi, “America, with all its power and facilities has failed to bring order to the airport. There is peace and calm all over the country, but there is chaos only at Kabul airport”.
Thousands rushed the airport last Monday in chaos that saw the US try to clear off the runway with low-flying attack helicopters. Several Afghans plunged to their deaths while hanging off the side of a US military cargo plane. It’s been difficult to know the full scale of the deaths and injuries from the chaos.