Footage Of Afghans Falling Off U.S. Air Force Plane Goes Viral
Footage showing hundreds of Afghans clinging onto a moving U.S. Air Force plane went viral on Monday.
Described as the “defining images” of Western intervention in Afghanistan, the videos and photos shared on social media depict the intense desperation and sorrow felt by a nation that has fallen to the Taliban once again.
The US military jet was departing Kabul airport when several Afghans began climbing the plane – some even appeared to be hanging onto its front wheel.
A video clip showed at least two people falling off the plane once it had already taken off.
Al Jazeera’s Rob McBride described the scene in Kabul as “chaotic and desperate.”
After the Taliban assumed control of Kabul “a surge of people mov[ed] toward the airport,” according to McBride.
He added: “It seemed as though airport security, airline and airport staff simply melted away, and it really was a free-for-all.”
Critics on Twitter were scathing about the U.S. withdrawal. “This, even more than yesterday’s images of choppers over the embassy, may be the defining image of the West’s failure in Afghanistan,” wrote Emma Graham-Harrison. “People so terrified, so desperate to leave, they are chasing a plane down the runway, clinging to its undercarriage.”
Unprecedented images from Kabul Airport. These have to be the defining images of this war. This is on America’s conscience! Shocking, unreal scenes! pic.twitter.com/JYoUrMgUKs
— Sameer ‘Sadiq’ Bhat (@sadiquiz) August 16, 2021
Incredibly powerful, defining images from Kabul Airport this morning – as people clamber onto an airbridge, so desperate are they to escape Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover. https://t.co/m2MFJ7dcI1
— Andrew Connell (@andrewiconnell) August 16, 2021
The level of desperation it must have taken to hang onto an airplane wing or landing gear until falling to their death is unimaginable. The situation at the Kabul airport is horrific. What a calamity.
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) August 16, 2021
— Jane Ferguson (@JaneFerguson5) August 16, 2021
This footage will still be played in 100 years. It now joins images of the retreat from Saigon and the naked Vietnamese girl as one of the west’s most shameful moments in modern history. pic.twitter.com/kcGLKLs5yG
— David Patrikarakos (@dpatrikarakos) August 16, 2021
This, even more than yesterday's images of choppers over the embassy, may be the defining image of the West's failure in Afghanistan.
People so terrified, so desperate to leave, they are chasing a plane down the runway, clinging to its undercarriage. https://t.co/mAnBLL4EBP
— Emma Graham-Harrison (@_EmmaGH) August 16, 2021
Just seen the most heartbreaking footage from Kabul airport: terrified Afghans clinging to the undercarriage of US planes taxiing along the apron, then falling to their death, one by one, as the plane climbs. The most tragic symbol yet of the whole US betrayal of Afghanistan.
— William Dalrymple (@DalrympleWill) August 16, 2021