At Least Five Killed at Kabul Airport, Witnesses Say

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Afghans crowd at the airport as they wait to leave from Kabul on August 16, 2021.
Afghans crowd at the airport as they wait to leave from Kabul on August 16, 2021.Credit: Shakib Rahmani / AFP

At least five people were killed in Kabul airport as hundreds of people tried to forcibly enter planes leaving the Afghan capital, witnesses told Reuters.

One witness said he had seen the bodies of five people being taken to a vehicle. Another witness said it was not clear whether the victims were killed by gunshots or in a stampede.

U.S. troops, who are in charge of the airport, earlier fired in the air to scatter the crowd, a U.S. official said. Officials were not immediately available to comment on the deaths.

The European Union is working with member states to find quick solutions for the relocation of local Afghan staff and their families to a safe place, a spokesperson said on Monday.

"The matter is extremely urgent, we take it very seriously and continue to work hard, together with EU member states, on implementing rapid solutions for them and ensure their safety," the spokesperson for the bloc's executive Commission told Reuters.

Meanwhile, Lufthansa said it's examining how it can help the German government evacuate citizens and local support workers from Afghanistan in the near future. 

This comes after the airline said was rerouting flights to avoid Afghan airspace until further notice. 

"All Lufthansa Group Airlines are suspending overflights of Afghanistan until further notice," the spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

As a result, the flight time to India and other destinations will be extended by up to one hour, the spokesperson added.

A second German military aircraft was also on its way to Kabul to evacuate German citizens and Afghan helpers stranded there. 

A first A400M transport plane had left early in the morning from the air base in Wunstorf in northern Germany. The aircraft is supposed to shuttle between Kabul and the Uzbek capital of Tashkent in order to rescue as many people as they can, according to security sources.

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