Human Lives Human Rights: As the Taliban seized several parts of Afghanistan, thousands of Afghans are risking their lives, and some even died, in a bid to flee the country.
Thousands of Afghans rushed to the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul in recent days, with chilling images showing desperate people flooding the runways and running after departing planes.
A couple of days ago, the whole world witnessed a heartbreaking video that could become some of the defining images of the fall of Kabul.
In the video, Afghans desperate to escape the Taliban takeover clung to the side of a departing US military jet. At the same time, a video also went viral in which around 600 Afghans could be seen squeezing themselves onto a cargo jet designed to carry 150 people while a US military dog was given a reserved seat in the same jet.
It was reported that the American canines were reserved their own seats on the flights, with photos appearing to show them sitting on aero plane seats alongside handlers.
Other images showed the animals waiting to board the flights – used to evacuate US citizens and former staff in Afghanistan – at the international airport, and broadcast footage showed Americans entering the airport grounds with the dogs.
These images have been met with strong backlash from people arguing the animals should not be given plane seats while Afghan residents are risking their lives to try and get space on the transport.
Social media users have criticized the move, questioning whether the seats could not have instead been given to more Afghan staff and their families and pointing to sickening footage earlier this week of Afghans clinging to the side of aero planes as they taxied down the runway.
“The US military has managed to evacuate their service dogs in Afghanistan. They all got seats in the plane, but innocent Afghanis hang onto the tyres of the same plane and fell thousands of feet to their deaths. Let that sink in!” one person wrote on Twitter.
“The evacuation of US military dogs from the Kabul airport is more important than the Afghans who worked with the US military,” another wrote.
“US military dogs evacuated ahead of human collaborators. Good idea to avoid collaborating with the US occupation forces unless you’re a dog,” said another.
As the US, UK, Australia and other allied nations continue their evacuation efforts, the Biden administration has faced increased criticism for withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan, and for the President’s response to the devastation.
To nobody’s surprise, former president Donald Trump has been among those to eviscerate his successor, Joe Biden, calling the botched withdrawal “the greatest embarrassment in the history of our country”.
“It’s a terrible time for our country. I don’t think, in all of the years, our country has ever been so humiliated,” Trump, who was the one to put the withdrawal process in motion, told Fox News.