Aug 20, 2021 - World

U.S. cargo plane set record transporting 823 Afghans from Kabul

A U.S. Air Force C-17 plane.
Photo: Jon Hobley/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A C-17 cargo plane set a record by safely transporting 823 Afghan citizens — 200 more than originally thought — from the international airport in Kabul after the city was seized by the Taliban on Sunday.

Driving the news: A photo showing hundreds of Afghans cramped inside the plane went viral on social media this week. Instead of trying to force the refugees off, "the crew made the decision to go," a defense official told Defense One.

  • The U.S. Air Force initially estimated that 640 Afghan citizens were aboard, but this number didn't include the 183 children, many of whom were sitting on laps.
  • 823 passengers is an all-time record for a military aircraft that usually carries 134 passengers, including 54 on side seats and 80 on pallets on the floor.

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