Late Sunday afternoon in Kabul, Afghanistan, the United States Air Force evacuated hundreds of Afghans in a military cargo plane.
Defence One reported that according to U.S. officials, 640 Afghans were onboard a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III that was departing Kabul. The crew had not been planning or or ordered to move those people- or that many; however, scared Afghans who were cleared to evacuate began pulling themselves into the aircraft’s half-open ramp. The crew ultimately decided to go with the refugees onboard, instead of taking the time to force them off.
An anonymous official claims that there were multiple flights leaving that afternoon, most with around 640 people, but some could have had more. In at least one flight, the Afghans passengers were taken to Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar. For the duration of the flight, they remained seated on the floor in a process called “floor loading”. This is when passengers are seated on the floor and hang on to cargo straps that are extended to one end of the plane to the other and serve as seatbelts.
On Monday, flights were put on hold from arriving to or departing from the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. Several videos have gone viral showing mobs of people running alongside planes in hopes of being evacuated. Others are seen trying to hold onto the plane from the outside. In one video, people are shown falling from an airborne C-17 to their deaths. The massive evacuations are a result of the Taliban, a U.N. recognized terrorist group taking over the Afghanistan capitol on Sunday.