Harrowing scenes as thousands of Afghans attempt to flee through Kabul airport
Thousands of Afghans and foreign nationals have surged on to the tarmac at Kabul airport seeking a place on a flight out of the country.
The US military has secured the site and is taking over air traffic control to evacuate American and allied staff, while US troops were reported to be firing shots into the air to keep crowds back from their own interests.
Pictures showed crowds of Afghans waiting on the tarmac while US troops stood guard on Monday morning.
Other pictures on social media showed hundreds of people, including women carrying small children, moving with their luggage toward the safety of the airport terminal with the sound of gunfire breaking out.
However, commercial flights have mostly been suspended, stranding Afghans and other foreign nationals in the country, while the US continues to evacuate its officials.
The Taliban has declared the war in Afghanistan is over and has taken control of the presidential palace, with the elected president having fled the country.
Afghans now suddenly face the prospect of complete domination by the Taliban again, after the group - in just a matter of days - took the rest of the country in its grip.
The Islamist group was able to seize control after most foreign troops pulled out.
With fears the Taliban could reimpose the brutal regime they enforced prior to the war in 2001, Afghans searched for a way out of the country with long queues lining up at cash machines trying to withdraw all of their savings.
The New York Times reported that Afghans wept as they begged airline workers to put their families on outbound commercial flights even as most were grounded in favour of military aircraft.
Another Saigon moment: chaotic scenes at Kabul International Airport. No security. None. pic.twitter.com/6BuXqBTHWk
— Saad Mohseni (@saadmohseni) August 15, 2021
Kabul Airport this morning
Too many people, too few planes pic.twitter.com/rReyvBG5Lc
— omar r quraishi (@omar_quraishi) August 16, 2021
— Ahmer Khan (@ahmermkhan) August 16, 2021