It’s incredible and very distressing to see huge numbers of people still turning up to the airport. Whole families, old women sitting in wheelbarrows because they are unable to walk, young children being carried by their parents. Just an endless stream walking through the filth, the dust, the heat. At times, they’re facing gunshots.
A large number of them have no realistic chance of boarding the evacuation flights because they just don’t have the right paperwork, making it even more difficult for the handful that do have the right paperwork or are foreign citizens to push their way through the crowd.
I was speaking to one elderly woman yesterday, her son was a former interpreter for the US Army. They had all been told to go to the airport but they’d spent six days and six nights living in awful conditions in a kind of make shift camp.
I asked her, given all of this, isn’t it worth just sticking it out in Afghanistan and seeing how things go? She said: “We just don’t have that option. The Americans should shoot us or they should let us through – but we are not staying here.”
Any information about the threat from IS-K or warnings about potential attacks from suicide bombers takes a long time to filter down to those people making their way to the airport – and they’re so desperate that their priority is just to find some way out.