At least five killed at Kabul airport – witnesses

At least five killed at Kabul airport – witnesses

At least five people were killed in Kabul airport as hundreds of people tried to forcibly enter planes leaving the Afghan capital, witnesses told Reuters. One witness said he had seen the bodies of five people being taken to a vehicle. Another witness said it was not clear whether the victims were killed by gunshots or in a stampede. U.S. troops, who are in charge of the airport, earlier fired in the air to scatter the crowd, a U.S. official said. Officials were not immediately available to comment on the deaths. President Ashraf Ghani fled from the country on Sunday as the Islamists entered Kabul virtually unopposed, saying he wanted to avoid bloodshed. “Today is a great day for the Afghan people and the mujahideen. They have witnessed the fruits of their efforts and their sacrifices for 20 years,” Mohammad Naeem, the spokesman for the Taliban’s political office, told Al Jazeera TV. “Thanks to God, the war is over in the country.” It took the Taliban just over a week to seize control of the country after a lightning sweep that ended in Kabul as government forces, trained for years and equipped by the United States and others at a cost of billions of dollars, melted away. Al Jazeera broadcast footage of what it said were Taliban commanders in the presidential palace with dozens of armed fighters. Naeem said the form of the new regime in Afghanistan would be made clear soon, adding the Taliban did not want to live in isolation and calling for peaceful international relations. “We have reached what we were seeking, which is the freedom of our country and the independence of our people,” he said. “We will not allow anyone to use our lands to target anyone, and we do not want to harm others.” Many Afghans fear the Taliban will return to past harsh practices in their imposition of sharia religious law. During their 1996-2001 rule, women could not work and punishments such as stoning, whipping and hanging were administered. Both the United Nations and the United States said last week they had received reports that Taliban fighters were executing surrendering government soldiers

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