‘Chaos’ At Kabul’s Airport As Evacuation Flights Are Mobbed


Chaos reigned at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, following the takeover of the capital by Taliban forces. At least seven have died trying to flee, including two Afghans who fell to their deaths trying to cling to the wheel well of a departing U.S. military transport on Monday. Another body was discovered inside a wheel well after a C-17 diverted to land at an airport in a third country when the crew was unable to retract the landing gear after taking off from Kabul, according to a Washington Post report.

In better news, another C-17, reportedly attached to the 436th Airlift Wing based at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, departed from Kabul with some 640 refugees on board (some reports claim it could have been as many as 800). The C-17 is configured to carry fewer than 200 passengers, but according to the reports, Afghans continued to climb aboard and the crew refused to deny boarding. A defense official said, “The crew made the decision to go.”

Once the situation at the airport is stabilized, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said, officials hope to transport as many as 5,000 people out of Afghanistan per day.

Mark Phelps
Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

Other AVwebflash Articles


    • Who gives a rat’s ass? “Don’t care” and “Doesn’t matter” are the answers, in order.
      This is one of those moments when an airplane is not a machine to fly for fun, not a machine to operate to make money, not a machine that you need to operate within the rules. This is one of those moments where an airplane is a machine that can change, and save, lives.

      • An airplane is for rescuing people.

        However crew have to be careful, recall the disaster in similar panic in Saigon when the rear hatch of a C-5 blew open during climb out. perhaps best to stay unpressurized and fly at a survivable level with crew using oxygen masks (pax will fall asleep, yes a few may die due heart-lung deficiencies but at least they had a chance to live.

        There is a question of priority to evacuate but time should not be wasted screening in such a situation.

        Problem is so many people could be seen to have helped Allied forces, and of course women will be targeted regardless. (Already reports of Taliban mistreating women despite promises not to – such types cannot be trusted.)

  1. Looked up the load capacity of a C-17 — 170,900 lbs equally distributed. I doubt that the weight of the average Afgan on board including women and children exceeds 170 lbs and they seemed pretty evenly distributed. So they should be well within weight and balance even if they had 1000 on board if you were not worried about seat belts, etc. and this is probably not the time for such concerns. I remember seeing similar pictures of c-130s leaving Saigon. Not the proudest moment for the USA but I think the crew made the right decision.

    • I agree. Too bad all those persons running aren’t willing to stay and fight the taliban. That many armed persons with American supplied and taxpayer paid for equipment would make a formidable fighting force. Too bad the current administration has so badly coordinated the withdrawal.

      • The way in which this drawdown and exit has been managed is a metaphor for how the previous administration handled COVID-19, except in that case hundreds of thousands of Americans died on our own soil.

        • Objection! You misrepresent what stumbling mouthing Donald did.

          He started out OK but was conned by people like Faking Flopping Fauci.

          I won’t go on in this different thread, I will say the huge collateral damage from unfocussed obsessive shotgun policies that experienced epidemiologists urged against. People died waring for treatment of cancer, people died from mental anguish of job loss, etc. And I point out that The Donald was partly correct about some medicines, but irresponsibly sloppy – they have to be used at the right time and in conjunction with other medicines, and recognized as having serious side effects.

      • Bouncing Biden Botched the mess, refused advice from US military on how to handle withdrawal. Disgusting.

        • Thanks to the demented corpse ruining the country, I’m sure this country will find out the hard way within a few years.

          • Of course, because any person that flees for their life from a despotic regime automatically becomes a terrorist.

            Does anyone know where the C-17 landed, BTW? I’m sure that location is now just a hotbed of Al Qaeda activity.

      • Disturbing, I’d expect more but keep in mind that in Afghanistan there probably were few working for Allies because they’d be targeted.

  2. Well, that was fun. So which foreign power is up next in the land that eventually sinks all? China with their pragmatic economic power methodology?

  3. My 6th and final departure out of Saigon in the 1975 version of this story had 467 Vietnamese on my C141A. Crowded but out of there.

  4. I am certainly no fan of Joe Biden, but what just happened in Afghanistan would have happened 5 or 10 years ago or sometime in the future when the US finally came to our collective senses, and got the hell out. As long as bordering Pakistan was and is a safe haven and supporter there was/is no way to pacify the country short of substantial permanent military presence and continuing sacrifice of American lives and treasure. The old saying that “people get the government they deserve” is just as true for them as it was for the people of Vietnam who were too weak, or lazy, or uncaring to preserve what was provided to them by America and our allies at great cost of lives and treasure. Move on, let China or Russia, or Iran have that stone age s— hole.

    • Disagree strongly – Botching Biden refused advice from US military on how to manage withdrawal.

    • “The old saying that “people get the government they deserve” is just as true for them as it was for people…who were too weak, or lazy, or uncaring to preserve what was provided to them…at great cost of lives and treasure.”

      You’re talking about the United States, right?

    • Yes, Ed Locke reinforces lack of will in a recent article in Capitalism Magazine, readable via the Internet web site of that name.

      In contrast, Israelis are fighting for their lives, with neo-Marxists in Canada and the US working against them – including US Congresspersons.

    • Psychologist and rational philosopher Ed Locke identifies the error in a recent article Capitalism Magazine – country military who are not willing to really fight for freedom and rights, from populations who do not understand what supports freedom and who are not taught how to evaluate claims.

      hAnd I say Allies erred in tolerating flawed constitutions – Afghanistan’s new one sounds nice until you grasp “Unless Allah decides otherwise, which opens the door to anyone claiming to be channeling Allah.

      In contrast, in World War II Allies required total surrender of the evil forces, forcing a proper constitution in Japan (with strict separation of state and church – Imperial Shinto was the problem there). John David Lewis chronicles that, the turnaround in attitude of Japanese people, and the defeat of enemies in that and some earlier wars including the US civil war.

  5. Congratulations dumb democrats. And you, Mr. Biden, already have enough age not to forget Saingon and the thousands of innocent people let behind. It’s a shame and a shame for those military that sacrified their lifes in that country

  6. Do I read correctly that Botching Biden is sending US troops back in to protect at least one airport for evacuation?

  7. Yup, started and run under Bumbling Bush, continued under Overly-Optimistic Obama, half-assed withdrawal agreement under Traitor Trump, and bungled withdrawal under who you all are calling Botching Biden. May be an apt description, but cannot help but remember poor old Jerry who was left holding the bag for Vietnam – hardly a clean withdrawal. What’s the old saying? Never get into a land war in Asia…

  8. And if I might add, while short-sighted minds are desperate to blame Joe and perpetuate ageing bias, the messy withdrawal we have witnessed goes just a wee bit deeper than ‘HE screwed up, Mom, not me!’.

    The hubris, or imbedded arrogance if you will of the US to perpetually overreach in foreign policy, including our presidents, sets up a continual assumption that America can initiate, setup or fix anything in any country at any time. Biden obviously didn’t think we had the might or the will to fix Afghanistan for good, but he thought we had the muscle to flee Afghanistan without being humbled.

    Just as other American leaders over the past decades had too much faith that they could nurture a better Afghan government and a stronger Afghan military, Uncle Joe swam in the same water as they did and, frankly, most of us and allowed himself that overconfidence that America can always succeed.

    I applaud Joe for having the strength to carry out the withdrawal finally and take responsibility but also acknowledge his failing of ingrained overconfidence and hubris that America can do anything. Maybe we all should have a bite of that pie and then, with greater awareness go forward to deal with the next inevitable conflict better prepared.

    • Well said, Dave. They don’t call Afghanistan “the graveyard of empires” for nothing. Every major world power in history that has tried to rule or control Afghanistan has failed miserably. America is just the latest example. Trying to pin this mess on any particular President is a fool’s errand and a waste of time. I’m no foreign policy expert, but President Biden is right that the outcome would have been the same if we stayed another 10 years. Year’s ago, I predicted that the Taliban, or some other fundamentalist group, would take over the country within a few months of our departure. I admit surprise it happened as fast as it did, but it was inevitable. Again, I’m no expert, but a student of history who has talked to soldiers that served in the country. Most said that the Afghan military was totally corrupt and incapable of waging a war without constant prodding from the US. The civilian police force was equally worthless. Most “policemen” got their jobs through some family connection and they were little more that straw men with a gun. No surprise that when the Taliban moved in, they handed over their weapons and ran. The people who I feel sorry for are the Afghan women who were actually trying to improve the lot of young girls and build them a decent future. As someone observed, there were few women in the crowd on the plane. I fear they will be left to bear the brunt of the Taliban’s reprisals against all who trusted the Americans.