The Biden administration’s withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan has ushered in fear and panic among that nation’s citizens as the Taliban exerts control over much of the country.
Thousands of Afghans seeking to flee their homeland rushed the Kabul International Airport this week in hopes of being evacuated — including a few who desperately clung to the fuselage and landing gear of a departing cargo jet only to plummet back to the ground shortly after takeoff.
“Attached themselves from the outside”
Local media outlets reported that at least three individuals died after falling from the aircraft. Two of those falls were caught on video clips that have since gone viral on social media.
Video on social media shows people falling to their deaths from an aircraft that had taken off from Kabul airport, presumably having attached themselves from the outside. pic.twitter.com/9KHeiuawXj
— TOLOnews (@TOLOnews) August 16, 2021
One still image shows the horrifying incident from a different angle and appears to reveal two bodies falling from the aircraft as seen circled in red.
— AIRLIVE (@airlivenet) August 16, 2021
Yet another video reveals the scene just prior to takeoff. In it, multiple individuals can be seen clinging to the side and bottom of the aircraft as it taxied down the runway.
Horrifying pattern emerges
The videos likely came just moments after another clip showed hundreds of Afghan citizens running alongside the U.S. Air Force C-17. At least one person grabbed ahold of the landing gear in a last-ditch bid to escape the country.
— ABC News (@ABC) August 16, 2021
ABC News reported that in addition to the individuals who fell to their deaths, the remains of at least one other individual were later found inside a wheel well of the plane when it landed at an airbase in Qatar.
The aircraft was reportedly carrying a load of cargo to be delivered. After it was swarmed by the civilians, however, officials determined that it would be unsafe to unload it and opted to leave the airport.
Of course, when it did take off again, a few desperate individuals attempted to stow away, resulting in the haunting images that further contribute to the widespread backlash against the Biden administration.