Live Updates: Chaos at Kabul airport halts evacuation flights

Gunfire rang out at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul Monday amid chaos as Afghans flooded the tarmac in hopes of fleeing the country in the wake of the Taliban’s lightning takeover. CBS News obtained video of some bodies on the tarmac.

U.S. troops reportedly fired into the air to try to control the crowd, but all evacuation flights were halted temporarily as the situation deteriorated. The Taliban claimed that U.S. troops had opened fire on civilians, killing and wounding some.

The Pentagon did not immediately reply to requests for comment from CBS News.

Sunday saw the culmination of the Taliban’s stunningly rapid return to power as the U.S. was withdrawing its forces after the 20-year U.S.-led war in Afghanistan. Taliban fighters took control of the presidential palace. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled Kabul.

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul was evacuated Sunday night, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said. “All Embassy personnel are located on the premises of Hamid Karzai International Airport, whose perimeter is secured by the U.S. Military,” he said.

A Defense Department official said 1,000 more U.S. troops are being sent to Afghanistan to assist in the evacuation of Americans, bringing the total to 6,000, with 3,000 on the ground now.

A horde of people run towards the Kabul Airport Terminal, after Taliban insurgents took control of the presidential palace in Kabul
Still image from video obtained from social media shows a horde of people running toward the Kabul Airport terminal on August 16, 2021 in the wake of Taliban insurgents regaining power in Afghanistan. JAWAD SUKHANYAR / Reuters