- Title: British man fleeing Kabul describes chaos in airport and how he got out
- Date: 19th August 2021
- Summary: FRANKFURT, GERMANY (AUGUST 19, 2021) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH BUSINESS CONSULTANT; NAME NOT GIVEN FOR SAFETY REASONS, SAYING: "So we were there for a couple of nights without food and water and the night after that ordinary people started coming into the airport without passports or anything. They looted the airport and the terminal, they broke everything that was in there: computers, the canteens - and we were scared. We were not allowed to go out because the Taliban was there and on this side, it was the American troops. So we were like, what are we going to do? Just stay here!" UZBEKISTAN AIRWAYS PLANE THAT BROUGHT IN BRITISH EVACUEE ON RUNWAY POLICE BUS WITH PLANE IN BACKGROUND CLOSE OF PLANE WINDOWS
- Embargoed: 2nd September 2021 17:24
- Keywords: Afghanistan Bundeswehr Kabul Taliban Uzbekistan base evacuation
- Location: KABUL, AFGHANISTAN / FRANKFURT, GERMANY
- City: KABUL, AFGHANISTAN / FRANKFURT, GERMANY
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Europe,Editors' Choice
- Reuters ID: LVA008EQY5OAV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: A 'salute' to the German military who got him out of Afghanistan, said a visibly shaken British business consultant as he touched down at Frankfurt airport on Thursday (August 19) after a harrowing couple of days trying to flee Kabul.
The man, who did not wish to give his name for security reasons, had fled to the airport along with thousand of others after Kabul fell to the Taliban on Sunday, August 15, 2021.
Chaotic scenes unfolded, with gridlocked streets, shooting, and panic as foreign nationals and Afghan staffers tried to get out.
"Somebody told me to go towards the North gate of the terminal where the American and German troops are and there was chaos when I arrived there. It took me a good few hours to get myself close to the gate and shout out that I am British and please get me out of here. So one of the soldiers just called me, as I said there was chaos and they had guns, they were shooting. They had no choice but to move the crowds from there so I understand that. Tear gas was just flying all around and then one of them just got me inside and I was in tears, honestly!"
The business consultant who had been working in Kabul on and off for 12 years described the uncertainty and fear inside the airport as conflicting information spread and the chaos increased.
"Within a few hours there was a panic inside the terminal saying the Taliban has taken over the airport and they are going to come in, so all the staff at the airport including the pilots and those who were issuing the boarding passes, the cleaners, everybody left and there were like hundreds of people, not just from Britain, from Germany, from the United States, from all around the world including Afghans. We got stranded there,"
"We were there for a couple of nights without food and water and a night after that ordinary people started coming into the airport without passports or anything. They looted the airport and the terminal, they broke everything that was in there: computers, the canteens and we were scared. We were not allowed to go out because the Taliban was there and on this side, it was the American troops. So we were like, what are we going to do? Just stay here!"
Finally on Wednesday, the business consultant got on a Bundeswehr flight to Tashkent before arriving in Frankfurt on an Uzbekistan Airways flight on Thursday.
"I am very thankful to the German airforce and German troops. They were doing a tremendous job at the airport, honestly! Salute to them! The first person that actually signed my passport was a German anyway, a German soldier and he got us in, we went through security. We had to wait a few hours and then we got onto the German airforce military plane," he said before making his way out into a windy German afternoon.
(Production: Stephane Nietschke, Andy Kranz, Tanya Wood)
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