US troops have been firing warning shots to disperse thousands of desperate Afghans outside Kabul airport as frantic Western expats told MailOnline they can’t get ‘anywhere near’ the gates because of the ‘terrified locals.’
Footage taken last night showed stun grenades flashing beside the perimeter and expats who tried to get through the gate say the military entrance said shots were fired by Western troops.
Westerners and visa holders trying to get to their flights say they are unable to get to the gates because of the crowd of up to 50,000 desperate locals who are gathering at the gates.
At the main entrance, Taliban fighters periodically fire into the air to clear the crowd in an attempt to disperse the crowd – but video of the fighters unleashing a volley of automatic fire shows the terrifying gauntlet evacuees have to negotiate.
Taliban fighters were seen shooting over the heads of crowds, striking people with rifles, while those on the ground reported beatings and whippings being dished out seemingly at random.
Crowds have also gathered at the entrance to the military wing of the airport, which is guarded by US and British troops who have been firing into the air to disperse the crowds.
Westerners face a race against time to get out of Kabul, with control of the airport resting on the up to 60,000 troops.
Joe Biden has said they will stay until all US citizens are evacuated, but there are suspicions among British troops that they could leave abruptly – leaving the 600 British unable to keep operating to evacuate UK nationals and interpreters.
Paul ‘Pen’ Farthing, a former Marine who now lives in Kabul with his wife, told MailOnline that British troops fired warning shots over the heads of a mother who was clutching a small baby.
‘There were a number of shots fired overhead and people started rushing around in panic.I don’t know whether it was live rounds but even if it wasn’t the fear factor is the same,’ he said. ‘It does nothing to resolve the matter and makes an already tense situation much worse.’
While US and UK troops have said that firing warning shots is a last resort, the Taliban are causing pandemonium and were filmed today shooting from the hip just yards away from women and children, and whacking people with the butts of their rifles.
Such is the desperation among crowds at the airport that women have resorted to passing babies over barbed wire to soldiers in a vain attempt to get them out of the country.
Despite the danger, defiant women today marched through Kabul in protest, holding the national flags in defiance of the Islamists to mark their country’s independence day.
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