Desperate to leave Afghanistan as the Taliban rolls in and takes over, Afghans are risking everything to get out, some filmed horrifically falling to their deaths after clinging to the outside of ascending aircraft. One can only imagine the sheer terror that awaits Afghans in general, and our Afghan allies in particular, for them to go to such unspeakable lengths to leave.
New York Post reported: Thousands of Afghans have been filmed desperately chasing after and clinging to a US Air Force plane as it taxied down the runway — with multiple people plunging to their deaths after the aircraft took off in the frantic attempt to flee the country after the Taliban takeover.
It is not clear how many plunged from the plane but footage showed at least two people falling from the C-17 transport plane as it rapidly gained altitude over the city.
According to Defence One: on Sunday a US Airforce C-17 being used to evacuate Afghans, flying them from Kabul to Qatar was not intending to take such a large load, but panicked Afghans who had been cleared to evacuate pulled themselves onto the C-17’s half-open ramp, one defense official said.
From the report: Instead of trying to force those refugees off the aircraft, “the crew made the decision to go,” a defense official told Defense One. “Approximately 640 Afghan civilians disembarked the aircraft when it arrived at its destination,” the defense official said.
Word of the flight spread across late Sunday in the United States when audio from the crew estimating they were carrying 800 passengers was posted online. A defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the true number was about 640 people.
The flight was one of several that was able to take off with hundreds of people aboard, and some of the others may have had an even larger load than 640, the official said.
In 2013, a C-17 evacuated 670 people fleeing a typhoon in the Philippines. Like that evacuation, the Afghans flown from Kabul to Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar sat on the floor of the plane’s capacious hold. The procedure is known as “floor loading”; the passengers hang onto cargo straps run from wall to wall serving as makeshift seatbelts, according to a source familiar with the plane’s operating manuals.