A shocking photo widely shared online shows more than 600 Afghans crammed onto a giant US Air Force cargo plane at Kabul International Airport on Sunday night, trying to leave. country after the Taliban took control of the country.
Afghans take refuge inside Reach 871, a US Air Force C-17 flying from Kabul to Qatar on August 15 (Image: Defense One)
Earlier, several viral videos showed many Afghans flocking to the airport, desperate to find a way out of the country. They boarded a C-17 Globemaster III cargo plane and filled the aircraft’s hangar, according to Defense One, a US military news site.
A total of about 640 refugees left Kabul on a flight to Qatar, a US defense official said.
Video: People run on tarmac of Kabul international airport as a US military aircraft attempts to take off. pic.twitter.com/9qA36HS0WQ
— TOLOnews (@TOLOnews) August 16, 2021
This is believed to be one of the heaviest people-carrying trips the C-17 has ever carried. Flight tracking software showed the plane belonged to the 436th Air Wing, based at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. In 2013, a C-17 evacuated 670 people fleeing a typhoon in the Philippines.
The C-17, which uses the Reach 871 designation, was not intended for such a large load, but hundreds of panicked Afghans tried to get on the C-17, a defense official said.
Instead of trying to force the refugees off the plane, “the crew decided to take off,” a defense official told Defense One.