October 22, 2021

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Afghan child hoisted over over wall amid Kabul airport chaos

Harrowing footage from Kabul’s international airport shows desperate Afghans attempting to flee their country by any means necessary — even handing children to US soldiers on the other side of the airport wall in the hope of getting them on evacuation flights.

The nonprofit organization Rise to Peace posted a series of video clips of the chaos Tuesday. The footage shows a mass of humanity outside Hamid Karzai International Airport, some of them waving passports and other identification documents.

The initial clip shows a man being helped over barbed wire by a pair of American soldiers. A series of pops can be heard in a second clip, which Rise to Peace claimed was exploding tear gas canisters utilized in an effort to keep the crowd back.

In a third, longer clip, a man and a pre-teen girl boost themselves up on the wall to talk to a pair of US soldiers. Eventually, a woman clad in traditional dress pulls herself up to the top of the wall as well, and one of the soldiers reaches down to pull the girl over the wall before the video cuts out.

The man lifted the child from the crowd to pass along to soldiers at Kabul Airport in Afghanistan.
Rise to Peace
Footage captures the moment a soldier helps a man lift a child over a perimeter wall at Kabul Airport.
Footage captures the moment a soldier helps a man lift a child over a perimeter wall at Kabul Airport.
Rise to Peace
A soldier lifts a child over the wall at Kabul Airport, where Afghans have attempted to flee the country.
A soldier lifts a child over the wall at Kabul Airport, where Afghans have attempted to flee the country.
Rise to Peace

Later, an Afghan man who has made it over the wall leans back over the other side to grab a toddler. After a brief conversation, the same soldier who assisted the young girl takes the toddler from the man and sets the child down on the other side of the wall.

In the final clip, a young woman scrambles over the wall with the help of two US soldiers. Inches away, a man and a woman converse frantically with those outside the wall as hundreds more surge forward.

A White House official said late Wednesday that approximately 1,800 people had been evacuated on 10 C-17 flights over the prior 24 hours, far from the 5,000 to 9,000 people the Pentagon estimated could be evacuated in a day if all was going smoothly.

In total, the official added, nearly 6,000 people have left Afghanistan since Saturday.

However, President Biden confirmed in an interview with ABC News Wednesday that between 10,000 and 15,000 Americans remain in Afghanistan, along with between 50,000 and 65,000 Afghans who aided NATO forces during the two-decade long conflict and face brutal reprisals from the Taliban.

The president also told “Good Morning America” co-host George Stephanopoulos that US troops would remain at the Kabul airport until the US is able to “get everyone out that, in fact, we can get out and everyone who should come out.” When asked if he was committed to keeping forces in Afghanistan past his Aug. 31 deadline, Biden said: “Americans should understand that we’re gonna try to get it done before August 31st.”

“If we don’t,” Biden added, “we’ll determine at the time who’s left … if you’re American force — if there’s American citizens left, we’re gonna stay to get them all out.”