Extraordinary footage shows Kabul airport chaos as refugees charged £29 for water

·Freelance Writer
·4 min read

Watch: Afghans wait outside Kabul airport in knee-deep water and trash

This is the shocking moment crowds were filmed in knee-deep water and garbage outside Kabul airport as they desperately tried to flee Afghanistan.

Video footage from local media showed a large crowd behind a concrete barrier and surrounded by barbed wire as security personnel kept watch.

At one point, a man who attempted to climb over the barrier was moved back by the security personnel. Witnesses said people in the crowd were from Kabul and neighbouring provinces.

One Afghan said food and water were selling at exorbitant prices, with bottles of water being sold for as much as $40 (£29).

Fazl-ur-Rehman told the Reuters news agency: "At Kabul airport, one bottle of water is selling for 40 (US) dollars and plate of rice for 100 (US) dollars, and not Afghani (currency) but dollars.

Afghans wade in water and between barbed wire as they wait outside Kabul airport.
Afghans wade in water and between barbed wire as they wait outside Kabul airport.

“That is out of reach for common people.”

Another Afghan, Abdul Razzaq, added: ”People are crowding and because of the rush of people, women and children are in miserable condition.”

Aid agencies have warned of a looming humanitarian crisis for the population left behind following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

On Wednesday, US president Joe Biden rejected calls from Boris Johnson and other allies to delay his 31 August exit date, citing the heightened security risks to troops.

The move means the clock is also quickly running down on the UK evacuation operation at Kabul airport, with British troops expected to have to leave ahead of their American counterparts.

Having swept to power last week as the US withdraws its troops, the Taliban has warned evacuations “will not be allowed” after the 31 August deadline.

US President Joe Biden (L) greets Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a plenary session of a NATO summit at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) headquarters in Brussels, on June 14, 2021. - The allies will agree a statement stressing common ground on securing their withdrawal from Afghanistan, joint responses to cyber attacks and relations with a rising China. (Photo by Olivier Matthys / POOL / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER MATTHYS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
US president Joe Biden has rejected Boris Johnson's calls to delay the 31 August exit date from Afghanistan. (Getty)

The group suggested foreign forces remaining in the country past the deadline would cross a “red line” that will “provoke a reaction”.

With just days left, tens of thousands of Afghans fearing persecution have descended on Kabul's airport, the lucky ones securing seats on flights, mostly arranged by Western governments.

So far more than 70,000 people have been evacuated, including Afghan citizens, Nato personnel and Afghans at risk.

In this photo provided by the U.S. Air Force, evacuees wait under the wing of C-17 Globemaster lll after arriving in an undisclosed location in the Middle East region on Friday, Aug. 20, 2021, after being evacuated onboard a military aircraft from Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, as part of Operation Allies Refuge. (Airman 1st Class Kylie Barrow, U.S. Air Force via AP)
Evacuees wait under the wing of C-17 Globemaster lll after being evacuated onboard a military aircraft from Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. (AP)

But chaos and sporadic violence has gripped the airport, with foreign troops and Afghan security guards driving back crowds clamouring to get on flights.

The Taliban, which marched into Kabul on 15 August, has told the Afghans at the airport that they have nothing to fear and should go home.

But it ordered working women in Afghanistan to stay at home until proper systems are in place to ensure their safety.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said: "It's a very temporary procedure.

Taliban fighters stand guard at a checkpoint in the Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood in the city of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021. The Taliban declared an
Taliban fighters stand guard at a checkpoint in the Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood of Kabul, Afghanistan. (AP)

"Our security forces are not trained (in) how to deal with women – how to speak to women (for) some of them.

"Until we have full security in place... we ask women to stay home.”

The Taliban previously said it will respect the rights of women within the framework of Islamic law, but video footage from Kabul since the takeover has shown images of women being painted over.

The militant organisation stopped women from working during its 1996-2001 rule, with girls forbidden from attending schools and women only allowed out when accompanied by a male relative, while also being made to wear burqas.

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - AUGUST 24: People who want to flee the country continue to wait around Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 24, 2021. (Photo by Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
People who want to flee Afghanistan continue to wait around Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. (Getty)

Meanwhile, UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab has continued to defend himself for not returning from Crete when the situation in Afghanistan began to deteriorate and the Taliban took control of Kabul.

He said reports of him paddleboarding on holiday while Kabul fell are “nonsense” because he was working and the sea was actually “closed”.

But he also said that, with the benefit of hindsight, he would not have gone away on holiday at that time.

Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab leaves the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office headed for Downing Street in central London on August 20, 2021. - Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on August 20 defied demands to quit after failing to make a telephone call to help translators fleeing Afghanistan, saying the Taliban's rapid advance made contact impossible. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Foreign secretary Dominic Raab said the UK will use 'every hour' left to evacuate people from Afghanistan. (Getty)

Raab said he left to return to the UK on 15 August, and that he was “working tirelessly” throughout that period despite being out of the country.

He told the Today programme: “The pace of the Taliban takeover, I think, even caught the Taliban by surprise.”

Raab said the UK will use “every hour” left to evacuate people from Afghanistan as he declined to rule out British troops having to leave by the end of Friday.

Watch: Raab says 'with benefit of hindsight' he would have returned from holiday

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