Hundreds of people in Afghanistan have flocked to Kabul airport in an attempt to flee the country after the Taliban entered Afghanistan’s presidential palace on Sunday Aug. 15 and declared that the country is under its control.
Videos on social media showed crowds running towards planes on the tarmac on Monday.
At least five people were killed as hundreds of people tried to forcibly enter planes leaving the capital, Reuters reported.
Taliban insurgents entered the capital on Sunday after taking control of nearly all of Afghanistan in a lightning offensive in just over a week.
Its military campaign began after US president Joe Biden announced in April that US troops would be withdrawing from the country after almost 20 years.
The Taliban, which controlled the majority of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, are expected to declare a new Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in the coming days.
The insurgents’ rapid return to power comes despite the US spending almost two decades and hundreds of billions of dollars to build up the Afghan government and its defense forces against the insurgents.
The country’s president Ashraf Ghani had reportedly fled earlier in the day and the government collapsed.
During its rule, the Taliban enforced a strict interpretation of Sharia, or Islamic law, committing massacres against Afghan civilians, denying hundreds of thousands of starving civilians UN food supplies and carrying out a scorched earth policy of burning fertile land and destroying tens of thousands of homes.
It banned girls from going to school and workplaces and required them to be accompanied by a male relative and wear a burqa at all times in public. Women hwho disobeyed were whipped or executed.
Cultural activities and media, such as art, movies and music, were also prohibited.
Fearful of a return to the harsh practices, people in Afghanistan have desperately tried to leave the country despite the Taliban announcing that it was seeking a peaceful transition of power.
Witnesses told Reuters they had seen bodies being taken to a vehicle at the airport but it was not clear whether they had been killed by gunshots or in a stampede.
A US official said US troops, which are in charge of the airport, had fired shots into the air to scatter a crowd earlier.
More than 60 countries have since issued a joint statement distributed by the US State Department calling on those in power in Afghanistan to allow Afghans and international citizens who wish to leave the country to depart.