A firefight involving Western forces and unidentified gunmen erupted at Kabul airport, Germany’s armed forces said on Monday, Aug. 23.
The German military said that the firefight joined by U.S. and German forces occurred at the North Gate of Kabul airport, killing one Afghan guard and injuring three others.
Ever since the swift Taliban takeover of the Afghan capital on Aug. 15 left little time for the evacuation process, the airport in Kabul had seen daily chaos and even life lost as Afghans tried to flee the militant group’s notorious reign of terror.
Reportedly, Taliban fighters have been stationed outside the airport and use violence on the desperate crowds trying to flee Afghanistan, using gunfire, whips, sticks, and sharp objects against the people.
Inside the airport, Afghan soldiers have been working with the U.S. forces in facilitating the evacuation process, according to The New York Post.
A shooter outside the airport fired at Afghan guards inside the facility, who returned fire, CNN reported, but that U.S. forces returned fire reportedly against the Afghan guards.
NATO officers at the airfield said the situation had been brought under control, and all airport gates had been shut.
Earlier that day, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) alleged that American evacuees were being beaten and were likely to be held hostage, but the White House had not acknowledged it.
“The fact that we’re now somehow relying on the Taliban to protect Americans and the White House is denying what we know is happening on the ground, which is that Americans are being beaten, they’re being prevented from getting to the gates of the airport, and they are probably being held hostage,” she said, as The Hill reported.
As of Sunday, tens of thousands of Americans and others were still stranded in the country, said the Associated Press. The outlet added that seven people died in the never-ending crush of people outside the airport.
According to Reuters, a Taliban spokesman said foreign forces in Afghanistan have not requested to extend the deadline to depart beyond Aug. 31.
President Biden said the evacuation efforts would be a tough mission in a press briefing, and losses might be inevitable.
“This evacuation mission is dangerous. It involves risks to our armed forces, and it is being conducted under difficult circumstances,” Biden said. “I cannot promise what the final outcome will be or what it will be—that it will be without risk of loss.”
President Biden sent a warning note that “any attack on our forces or disruption of our operations at the airport will be met with a swift and forceful response.”