Desperate Afghans have reportedly been crushed to death as the situation at Kabul airport deteriorates.
US citizens are being urged to stay away from the last functioning route out of Afghanistan because of worsening conditions on the ground.
Western troops are battling to maintain order at the airstrip as efforts to evacuate tens of thousands of people from the Taliban-controlled city continue.
According to Sky News’ Stuart Ramsay, soldiers were covering bodies with white sheets outside Hamid Karzai International Airport this morning.
Tens of thousands of people are camping on the road to the airport and waiting for gates to reopen in the morning.
The correspondent said ‘today it turned chaotic in an instant’ with crushes at entrances and soldiers desperately trying to calm the situation.
Tens of thousands of Afghans are sleeping on the road to try and make it through the airport gates but most are being turned back (Picture: AFP)
There are harrowing reports of deaths among the chaos as people try and board flights (Picture: AFP)
Reporting from the scene, the Sky reporter wrote: ‘Paratroopers began pulling people from the mayhem, medics rushing from the next casualty to the next, then the next and the next. Crushed, dehydrated, terrified.’
He described the situation as ‘utterly, utterly horrendous’ and said ‘this is the worst day by far’.
Senior soldiers told Sky the humanitarian situation is ‘the worst thing they have ever seen in their entire careers in the military’.
The crowd was reportedly sprayed with a hose to keep people being crushed cool in 30C temperatures.
He said children were pulled from the desperate crowds and soldiers fired into the air to try and prevent the chaos.
British forces are part of an international coalition battling to keep the airport functioning (Picture: PA)
As well as providing security, soldiers are administering first aid and caring for children separated from parents (Picture: Anadolu)
There have been several reported deaths at the airport in recent days, including people who clung to the side of a plane taking off.
The US embassy told Americans: ‘Because of potential security threats outside the gates at the Kabul airport, we are advising U.S. citizens to avoid travelling to the airport and to avoid airport gates at this time unless you receive individual instructions from a U.S. government representative to do so.’
But there was confusion when general Hank Taylor told reporters he was ‘not familiar’ with the guidance, adding: ‘There has been no reported change to the current enemy situation in and around the airport at this time.’
A Pentagon spokesperson was asked about the directive at a press conference but said he would ‘not get into specific details about the threat environment’.
He refused to be drawn over whether there is a specific terror threat or more general safety concerns about crowd disorder.
During the briefing, it was also confirmed that gates to airport have been closed at points during the last 24 hours.
The Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs has issued a similar Notice. It read: ‘The security situation around Kabul airport has worsened significantly in the last hours.
‘A large number of people in front of the airport and sometimes violent confrontations are hindering access to the airport.’
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