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People trying to flee Afghanistan run from gunfire at Kabul airport

Civilians, including children, were running from gunfire at Kabul airport on Thursday (August 19) as troops fired shots to hold back crowds desperate to flee Afghanistan.

Footage shows troops near the Kabul airport wall firing shots and distressed locals, including a man carrying a young child, running away through gun smoke.


A U.S. official said on Friday that there are currently about 5,800 U.S. troops at the airport in Kabul to help with evacuation efforts.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has ordered about 6,000 troops to Kabul, a number that is expected to be reached in the coming days.

The speed with which the Islamist militant Taliban conquered Afghanistan as U.S. and other foreign troops were completing their withdrawal surprised even their own leaders and has left power vacuums in many places.

The Taliban called for unity ahead of Friday prayers, the first since they seized power, calling on imams to persuade people not to leave Afghanistan amid the chaos at the airport, protests and reports of violence.

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