CAIRO, August 23. /TASS/. All flights to and from Kabul International Airport are suspended until further notice due to large crowds seeking to flee Afghanistan, the national civil aviation authority said in a statement issued on Monday.
"All flights at Hamid Karzai International Airport are suspended until further notice. Passengers looking to fly to different regions around the country and abroad will be notified in advance when flights will be resumed. These measures are taken to avoid crowds and unrest in the airport," reads the statement published on the agency’s Facebook page.
The statement also stresses that the Afghan aviation authorities "are working hard for domestic and international flights to and from the Kabul airport to resume as soon as possible."
The situation at Kabul International Airport has remained tense after Taliban (outlawed in Russia) fighters swept into Kabul without encountering any resistance, and gained full control over the Afghan capital within a few hours on August 15. Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani said he had stepped down to prevent any bloodshed and subsequently fled the country. Vice President Amrullah Saleh said that under the constitution, he would become "the caretaker president" in the absence of the president and called for armed resistance against the Taliban. Several countries began evacuating their citizens and embassy staffers.
Around 800 civil representatives of NATO allies are maintaining operation of the Kabul airport round the clock, while order is observed by military personnel from the US, the UK and Turkey. Thousands of people are trying to fly out of the country. Tear gas and warning shots had to be used to disperse crowds on the airport tarmac. People were clinging onto landing gears and hulls of planes to flee the Afghan capital.
According to the latest reports, at least 20 people died in the past week in these incidents.