August 23, 2021
ISLAMABAD – Germany’s military reported Monday a firefight erupted outside the north gate at Kabul’s airport, with unknown attackers killing one Afghan security officer dead and wounding three others.
The German military said its forces and those from the United States were involved in the battle.
The airport has been the site of mass evacuations by Western nations, particularly the United States, since the Taliban’s seizure of the Afghan capital a week ago.
Tens of thousands of Afghans have flooded the Kabul airport in hopes of getting a place on one of the evacuation flights, fearing a return to the harsh interpretation of Islamic law practiced when the Taliban controlled the country 20 years ago.
The United States has fallen short of evacuating 5,000 to 9,000 people per day and chaotic scenes at and around the airport have prompted criticism of the U.S. effort.
Vice President Kamala Harris, speaking during a visit Monday to Singapore, said there will be plenty of time later to analyze what has taken place, emphasizing that the primary mission is “evacuating people from that region who deserve to be evacuated.”
“We are singularly focused on evacuating American citizens, Afghans who worked with us, and Afghans who are vulnerable, including women and children,” Harris said.
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong offered the use of a military plane to help with the evacuation effort.
Other countries are sending aircraft, including Japan, which said it was dispatching a military plane on Monday to bring back its citizens from Afghanistan.
The Taliban on Sunday blamed the United States for the chaos around Kabul’s airport.
The British Ministry of Defense has confirmed the deaths of seven Afghans near the airport on Saturday.
“There is peace and calm all over the country,” Amir Khan Mutaqi, a top Taliban leader asserted, saying, “there is chaos only at Kabul airport.”
“America, with all its power and capabilities, and with their president paying direct attention to the evacuation process, they have failed to bring order to the airport,” Mutaqi said in an audio statement shared with media.
The U.S. and other countries have brought in troops to manage the evacuation effort at the airport.
“Conditions on the ground remain extremely challenging but we are doing everything we can to manage the situation as safely and securely as possible,” the British Defense Ministry said in a statement.
Taliban leaders stressed Afghanistan wants good relations with the U.S. and the global community, but the chaotic evacuation is hurting their goodwill among Afghans. Mutaqi said the crisis has prevented airports across the country from transporting Afghans to and from Kabul, adding to problems facing the war-ravaged nation.
Some information for this report came from the Associated Press and Reuters.