Haunting photos in Kabul show hundreds crowded at the airport gate waving their papers to be saved before the bombs went off

Hundreds of people gather on the perimeter of the Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021.
Hundreds of people gather on the perimeter of the Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021.
Moments before explosions near Kabul's Hamid Karzai International Airport killed dozens of people, hundreds of Afghans lined up outside gates in hopes of being evacuated from the country.
Afghan people who want to leave the country continue to wait around Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 26, 2021. Afghan people who want to leave the country continue to wait around Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 26, 2021.
Afghan people who want to leave the country continue to wait around Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 26, 2021.

Thursday's attack killed 13 US military members and dozens of Afghans and the Pentagon said it was likely carried out by the Islamic State.

But photos from outside the airport earlier on Thursday show what people were experiencing before the blast.

Carrying just what they could hold in their arms, hopeful evacuees spent hours trying to get on planes to escape the Taliban, which took control of Kabul earlier this month.

Images show people waving documents at guards, gathering under razor wired fences, and standing in and around garbage outside Kabul's airport.

Thousands of people were eligible for visas for other countries, but evacuation flights were limited, making it difficult for countries, including the US, to bring all hopeful evacuees to safety.

Many refugees waited outside the airport near a sewage-filled canal.
Men and children wait wait around Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 26, 2021.
Men and children wait wait around Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 26, 2021.

On one side of the airport, evacuees waited near a knee-deep, sewage-filled canal, Sky News reported.

Due to the heat, which hit a high temperature of 90 degrees Fahrenheit on Thursday, the canal created a stench that could be smelled by surrounding crowds.

Refugees waved their documents in the air in hopes of being chosen for flights out of Afghanistan.
People hold documents in the air while waiting around Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 26, 2021
People hold documents in the air while waiting around Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 26, 2021

It was so chaotic that soldiers stood on the wall and held up their country's flag to show refugees where to go, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Thousands of Afghans who worked with the US hadn't been evacuated before Thursday's blast.
Hundreds of people gather, some holding documents, near an evacuation control checkpoint on the perimeter of the Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021.
Hundreds of people gather, some holding documents, near an evacuation control checkpoint on the perimeter of the Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021.

On Thursday, an estimated 250,000 Afghans who worked with the US hadn't been evacuated, according to The New York Times.

The UK has also left Afghans behind, while Germany, Canada, Spain, and New Zealand ended their evacuation efforts this week.

By Friday,more than 100,000 people had been evacuated from Kabul, but thousands more Afghans who helped the US military or are vulnerable to the militant group's strict rule are in danger of being left behind if they can't catch a flight out before the August 31 deadline for the US to leave.

Most people who tried to evacuate didn't bring anything with them.
People stand on a ledge outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 26, 2021.
People stand on a ledge outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 26, 2021.

Many people pictured at Hamid Karzai International Airport this week have had few belongings with them.

Military troops told refugees they could only bring one suitcase and the clothes they were wearing on board evacuation planes, according to the BBC.

The US State Department issued a depressing missive on Friday: "There are efforts underway to develop a system that will enable travelers from Hamid Karzai International Airport to recover baggage that was lost in transit."

The airport has had issues with "heaps of garbage" around its gates because of the mass number of people traveling to the site.
Garbage and clothing were seen strewn across the ground outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 26, 2021.
Garbage and clothing were seen strewn across the ground outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 26, 2021.

Source: Newsweek

Some Afghans went hours without food or water while waiting for escape flights.
People wait near an evacuation control checkpoint on the perimeter of the Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021.
People wait near an evacuation control checkpoint on the perimeter of the Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021.

A source working on getting people out told NBC News that she was telling evacuees to bring enough food and water to last them up to 24 hours waiting at the airport.

An Afghan man told the BBC earlier this week that some people had been waiting for 14 or 15 hours without food and water.

Thousands of people have traveled to the airport in recent days with hopes of evacuating Afghanistan.
An overview of crowds at the Abbey Gate at Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 23.
An overview of crowds at the Abbey Gate at Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 23.

An aerial photo from August 23 shows throngs of people waiting outside the airport.

This map of the airport shows you the choke points that made people waiting so vulnerable to attacks:

 

The explosions on Thursday delayed some evacuations out of Kabul, but President Joe Biden has promised evacuations will be completed.
A close-up of crowds near the Abbey Gate at Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan August 23, 2021.
A close-up of crowds near the Abbey Gate at Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan August 23, 2021.

Biden said in a speech on Thursday that the terror attacks would not deter the US from completing its evacuation mission to help refugees stuck in Kabul.

"We will rescue the Americans. We will get our Afghan allies out. And our mission will go on," Biden said in his speech.

Flights resumed on Friday.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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