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This Is What The Fall Of Kabul To The Taliban Looks Like

Photos show chaotic scenes at the airport and Taliban soldiers patrolling the streets.

Posted on August 16, 2021, at 9:42 a.m. ET

Stringer / Reuters

A man pulls a girl up by her arm as people climb a wall to get inside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 16, 2021.

Taliban recaptured the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Sunday after rapidly retaking much of the country following the departure of the nation's president and US forces. The Taliban released a statement on Twitter saying that they had entered the city to provide security and that foreign nationals would not face any danger. The US and other countries evacuated much of their personnel over the weekend, with chaotic and deadly scenes at the airport unfolding as thousands tried to flee.

The Taliban is getting back control of the country just ahead of the Aug. 31 deadline that President Joe Biden had set for the withdrawal of American troops, and after nearly 20 years of war.


AFP via Getty Images

Afghans crowd at the tarmac of the Kabul airport on Aug. 16, 2021, to flee the country as the Taliban were in control of Afghanistan after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country and conceded the insurgents had won the 20-year war.

Wakil Kohsar / AFP via Getty Images

Afghan people climb atop a plane as they wait at the Kabul airport in Kabul on Aug. 16, 2021, as thousands of people mobbed the city's airport trying to flee the Taliban's feared hardline brand of Islamist rule after a stunningly swift takeover of the capital.

Wakil Kohsar / AFP via Getty Images

Afghan passengers sit as they wait to leave the Kabul airport on Aug. 16, 2021.

Hundreds crowd the grass and tarmac at the airport
Shakib Rahmani / AFP via Getty Images

Afghans crowd at the airport as they wait to leave from Kabul on Aug. 16, 2021.

People behind barbed wire look out at planes and soldiers at the airport
Shakib Rahmani / AFP via Getty Images

Afghans crowd at the airport as US soldiers stand guard in Kabul on Aug. 16, 2021.

Wakil Kohsar / AFP via Getty Images

A US soldier points his gun toward an Afghan passenger at the Kabul airport on Aug. 16, 2021.

Stringer / Reuters

Women with their children try to get inside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 16, 2021.

Men are climbing a wall with barbed wire
Stringer / Reuters

Men try to get inside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 16, 2021.

Wakil Kohsar / AFP via Getty Images

US soldiers stand guard at the Kabul airport on Aug. 16, 2021.

An Afghan police officer with his head in his hands
Paula Bronstein / Pulitzer Center via Getty Images

Kabul police secure areas in the central part of the city on Aug. 13, 2021, in Kabul, Afghanistan. Tensions are high as the Taliban advance on the capital city.

AFP via Getty Images

Taliban fighters ride a motorbike along the street in Kabul on Aug. 16, 2021.

Kakar, wearing a hijab, with tears in her eyes
Mariam Zuhaib / AP

Zarmina Kakar a women's rights activist, during an interview with the Associated Press in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 13, 2021. Kakar was a year old when the Taliban entered Kabul the first time in 1996, and recalled a time when her mother was whipped by a Taliban fighter for revealing her face for a couple of minutes. “Today again, I feel that if Taliban come to power, we will return back to the same dark days,” she said.

Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Asma Hamidiyan (center) bears a burn scar on her cheeks from an incoming salvo after Taliban fighters forced their way into her family's home and occupied it. Her family has fled to a makeshift camp for displaced Afghans fleeing the fighting between the Taliban and the Afghan Security Forces at Hasa-e-Awal Park, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 14, 2021.

Makeshift tents and children sleeping on the ground near their families
Anadolu Agency / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Thousands of families flee from the Taliban's offensive and come to Kabul, Afghanistan, on Aug. 10, 2021.

Men with their hands out gesture to a police officer
Paula Bronstein / Pulitzer Center via Getty Images

Afghans wait in long lines for hours at the passport office as many are desperate to have their travel documents ready to go on Aug. 14, 2021, in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Afghan people line up outside AZIZI Bank to take out cash as the bank suffers amid money crises in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Aug. 15, 2021. In a statement, the Taliban said they do not intend to enter Kabul "by force or war, but to negotiate with the other side to enter peacefully."

Taliban members with guns stand under a sign saying welcome to Kabul
Stringer / Reuters

A member of the Taliban stands outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 16.

Wakil Kohsar / AFP via Getty Images

A Taliban fighter mans a machine gun on top of a vehicle as they patrol along a street in Kabul on Aug. 16, 2021.

Stringer / Reuters

A member of Taliban forces sits on an armored vehicle outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 16, 2021.

Wakil Kohsar / AFP via Getty Images

Taliban fighters stand guard along a roadside near Zanbaq Square in Kabul on Aug. 16, 2021.

Military equipment, helmets, flak jackets and ammunition is seen piled alongside the road next to Taliban fighters.
Anadolu Agency / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Taliban members patrol the streets of the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Aug. 16, 2021.

Wakil Kohsar / AFP via Getty Images

Afghan security personnel stand guard in front of a gate in the Green Zone of Kabul on Aug. 15, 2021.

Wakil Kohsar / AFP via Getty Images

The entrance gate of the Canadian embassy is pictured after the evacuation in Kabul on Aug. 15, 2021.

Wakil Kohsar / AFP via Getty Images

A US military helicopter is pictured flying above the US embassy in Kabul on Aug. 15, 2021.

A group shot of Taliban fighters with guns at the presidential desk
Zabi Karimi / AP

Taliban fighters take control of the Afghan presidential palace after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Aug. 15, 2021.


A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.