A Russian media correspondent, Murad Gazdiev, arrived at Kabul airport this week to report on the ground and was shocked by the deteriorating conditions and continued spiraling crisis. "We’ve just arrived at Kabul airport. American troops call what is happening here 'World War Z,' referring to the zombie movie starring Brad Pitt. It is clear why," he narrated.
"The situation is horrendous. The entire airport is littered with bullet casings and flash-bang grenades," he continued. "Everything, absolutely everything is covered in barbed wire. The entire runway is lined with barbed wire." And there are tragic scenes of desperate Afghan civilians standing outside the airport walls in knee-deep sewage.
This as new reports emerge from US officials, and even a pair of congressman who just went to Kabul's international airport on a fact finding mission, that it's looking nearly impossible that US troops will be able to evacuate everyone on Washington's list or who has a visa, including possibly Americans stuck in the capital city, by the Aug.31 deadline.
One of the Congressional members who touched down in Kabul airport this week, Democratic Representative Seth Moulton - who served as a Marine and multi-tour Iraq war veteran - said, "To say that today is anything short of a disaster would be dishonest. Worse, it was avoidable."
RT News footage showing a chaotic scene and warning shots fired by Taliban "security" militants just outside the airport:
Gazdiev, meanwhile, continues of his description: "Shooting is ceaseless, 10 minutes don’t pass without gunfire. Either within the airport; American troops scaring away the more daring locals, or shooting near the main entrance, where the Taliban is discouraging would-be refugees."
Other reporters on the ground, like LA Times foreign correspondent Nabih Bulos, have documented that US troops are just inside the perimeter wall that surrounds Hamid Karzai airport, while Taliban militants are just on the other side.
The fact that the Taliban is clearly just outside the gates as the mass evacuation continues means that should US and Western troops stay past the Aug.31 deadline, firefights will likely break out. On Tuesday the White House indicated Biden would stick to this deadline after the Taliban warned of "consequences" - despite critics and even allies like the UK, Germany and France saying some of their nationals and even Americans might be left behind.
The LA Times' Bulos described elsewhere that:
But behind the scenes, the evacuation effort is chaotic, sorrowful, smelly, dirty — and dangerous.
Gazing at the action from the ground are hundreds, occasionally thousands of Afghan men, women and children, standing in long queues that snake toward and into parked aircraft.
In some instances the various armed groups and armies trying to keep control both inside and outside the airport, including the former Afghan national forces that are still at the airport assisting the US military, have resorted to frequently shooting into air, and sometimes even into the crowds of onrushing people.
‘Many of these men served us, today we’re slamming the gate on them and their families - it doesn’t feel great to be British on this side of the fence today’— ITV News (@itvnews) August 22, 2021
Another powerful report from @johnirvineitv on the chaos in Kabul https://t.co/HHmolpI99T pic.twitter.com/RVKWnvimfY
The LA Times describes further:
In the first week, it was a lethal melee pitting residents clutching documents and worn-looking luggage against uniformed men with wraparound glasses and the quick-to-anger swagger of lethal paramilitary fighters.
They were some of the last remnants of the U.S.-supported Afghan security force. Far from protecting fellow Afghans, they used ropes, truncheons, sticks, whips, rifle butts, shots in the air and — when all else failed — shots in bodies to keep their compatriots back from a chance at escape.
Yet still this is perhaps a step up from the 'Mad Max' style scenes from the first days of the crisis...
For the past week-and-a-half there's been a steady expansion of the barbed wire and makeshift barriers that now line airport entrances and near the runways.
There continue to be reports of violence and beatings outside the airport gates, as well as people being trampled.
Some images have shown the blood-stained individuals seeking medical care and violence even while in progress, as Taliban militants become increasingly frustrated and angered at the rush of Afghans trying to escape their rule.
Chaos in Kabul airport ongoing, as a young man from the Kabul Hazara community claims he has been beaten by the Taliban for trying to access the airport pic.twitter.com/fCOaeYc0Ab— عبدالباسط (@Abdulbaset365) August 25, 2021
Today with @RepMeijer I visited Kabul airport to conduct oversight on the evacuation.— Seth Moulton (@sethmoulton) August 25, 2021
Witnessing our young Marines and soldiers at the gates, navigating a confluence of humanity as raw and visceral as the world has ever seen, was indescribable. pic.twitter.com/bWGQh1iw2c
During what was initially his 'secret' visit to Kabul airport, Congressman Moulton observed while he was there "indescribable" scenes of desperation.
"Witnessing our young Marines and soldiers at the gates, navigating a confluence of humanity as raw and visceral as the world has ever seen, was indescribable," he wrote on social media.