Wednesday 9/29/21
EVACUATION

People rescued from Afghanistan report deaths and gunshots

It was impossible to get through to the airport without a passport
19 August 2021, Hessen, Frankfurt_Main: A man (C) who arrived from Kabul stands at Frankfurt airport early this morning. More people brought to safety from Afghanistan arrived on a Lufthansa plane that had taken off from the Uzbek capital Tashkent. Photo: Frank Rumpenhorst/dpa
A man (C) who arrived from Kabul stands at Frankfurt airport early this morning. Photo: Frank Rumpenhorst/dpa,

People brought to safety from Afghanistan have reported horrific experiences and chaotic conditions at Kabul airport. A passenger at Frankfurt airport early on Thursday morning said he saw dead bodies and heard gunshots in Kabul.

"It's terrible," said Mahmud Sadjadi. "Helplessness, hopelessness. It’s just chaos," he said.

Sadjadi arrived in Frankfurt from the Uzbek capital Tashkent on a Lufthansa evacuation flight with about 250 people on board. The German military has been bringing people from Kabul to Tashkent since Tuesday, in a rescue mission that is considered to be highly dangerous.

Sadjadi, who is a German citizen, had been in Kabul for three weeks. He said reaching the airport had been particularly risky.

"You have to go through a Taliban barrier, for example." Afghan security forces had fired their weapons, and he had witnessed people dying. It was impossible to get through to the airport without a passport.

Another passenger, who did not want to give his name, reported organizational difficulties in returning. "The situation is not easy to bring under control," he said, but insisted the mission was vital. "The world needs to help the Afghan people."

Lack of information

Mahmud Sadjadi thanked the German government for the rescue, but also lamented the lack of organization.

"There was no information on where to gather, when to gather." He said everyone had been left to fend for themselves, and he had not received any reply to his emails. Other countries had collected their people with buses and taken them to the airport, he said. "Thank God everything went well."

Sadjadi, who was welcomed by his children when he arrived in Frankfurt, said that he still has relatives in Afghanistan and is desperately anxious about their safety.

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