On Thursday (August 19), international media and online communities widely spread a video showing Afghans passing a newborn baby to army soldiers through the Kabul airport fence to escape the Taliban.
The chaos & fear of people is a testament to the international community’s role in AFG’s downfall & their subsequent abandonment of Afghan people. The future for AFG has bn decided for its people without its people’s vote & now they live at the mercy of a terrorist group. #Kabul pic.twitter.com/k4bevc2eHE
— Omar Haidari (@OmarHaidari1) August 19, 2021
The short video shows an adult standing in the crowd outside the fence of Kabul airport transferring an infant to a soldier above the barbed wire fence.
Kabul airport is currently controlled by US and coalition troops, but outside the airport the Taliban have deployed siege forces. It is not yet possible to confirm whether the soldier receiving the infant is a US soldier or a member of the coalition.
The BBC and social media also spread another short video, which showed a resident also handing a small child to soldiers on the Kabul airport fence. The BBC said the recipient of the child was an American soldier.
Also according to the BBC, Taliban forces outside the airport opened fire in the air and US soldiers also had to use vapor to control the crowd.
The videos were released as thousands of Americans and Afghans who want to leave the Taliban-controlled country are still trapped in Kabul and other areas.
The US Department of Defense said on August 19 that the US military was stepping up evacuation operations in Afghanistan and announced that 7,000 civilians had been removed from the South Asian country since August 14. The Defense Department did not specify how many US citizens were among the 7,000 evacuated.
Army Brigadier General Hank Taylor, during a press conference at the Pentagon on August 19, told reporters that in the past 24 hours, 12 C-17s carrying 2,000 people had been evacuated from Kabul. Talylor added that the US military currently has enough aircraft to carry between 5,000 and 9,000 people out of Afghanistan each day, the exact number depending on airport handling and other factors such as weather.
As of August 19, there are about 5,200 US troops present at Kabul airport, the number of US troops has increased steadily over the past few days and the US Department of Defense has pledged to continue to increase troops in the near future.
Also on August 19, the US State Department said that 6,000 Americans had completed the procedure and were ready to wait to board the plane to evacuate Kabul.
Meanwhile, US Department of Defense spokesman John Kirby, at a press conference at the Pentagon on August 19, said there was no evidence that the Taliban assaulted American personnel. He also said Washington officials have not yet seen the Taliban hinder US citizens trying to leave Afghanistan. However, there have been widespread reports of Taliban assaults on Afghans, including by preventing civilians from moving to Kabul airport.
Kirby declined to answer a question whether US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin thinks US troops need to continue operating in Afghanistan past the August 31 withdrawal deadline. The spokesman also said that there has not been any discussion between the US and the Taliban about extending the withdrawal date of US troops.
President Joe Biden has said he will continue to use the military to evacuate Americans from Afghanistan until all Americans who want to leave can leave.