Aug 17, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Air Force investigating takeoff deaths at Kabul airport

People standing on a jet at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on Aug. 16.

People standing on a jet at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on Aug. 16. Photo: Wakil Kohsar/AFP via Getty Images

The Air Force said Tuesday its Office of Special Investigations is examining deaths tied to the takeoff of a C-17 cargo plane at Hamid Karzai International Airport on Monday, according to AP.

Why it matters: The Air Force was forced to halt evacuations from Afghanistan on Monday after thousands of civilians stormed the runway. They were attempting to flee the country, which fell under the control of the Taliban on Sunday.

  • Videos showed people swarming U.S. military aircraft as they were attempting to take off on Monday.
  • At least seven people were killed during the chaos at the airport, including several who plunged to their deaths after clinging on to a U.S. military jet that took off from the runway.
  • The U.S. sent an additional 1,000 troops to the airport to help secure the runway.

The big picture: The Air Force did not disclose how many people died but said human remains were found in a plane’s wheel well after it landed at al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar, according to AP.

  • The U.S. is still attempting to process visas and evacuate thousands of Afghan refugees who aided U.S. and coalition forces and may face retaliation from the Taliban.
  • The Pentagon said Tuesday that the airport was again secured and that evacuations resumed.
  • Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby defended the chaos at the airport Tuesday, saying "no plan survives first contact."

Go deeper: Pentagon defends Kabul evacuation chaos: "No plan is perfect"

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