BEIRUT (5:40 P.M.) – On Monday the world witnessed horrifying scenes emerge out of Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul as desperate throngs of Afghan civilians rushed departing aircraft while U.S. Marines fired warning shots in attempts to clear the runways.
An Apache helicopter was filmed doing strafing runs over the heads of civilians while military transport planes were seen departing with people clinging to the landing gear, resulting in deaths in what reports are calling “unreal, shocking scenes”.
Simultaneously the Russian Embassy in Kabul is citing eyewitnesses who say ousted US-backed President Ashraf Ghani fled the country Sunday “with four cars and a helicopter full of cash and had to leave some money behind as it would not all fit in,” according to RIA news agency.
Cash was even reportedly left on the tarmac after Ghani was initially thought headed toward Tajikistan, though his current whereabouts are unknown.
“As for the collapse of the (outgoing) regime, it is most eloquently characterized by the way Ghani fled Afghanistan,” Nikita Ishchenko, spokesman for the Russian embassy in Kabul, was quoted as saying.
“Four cars were full of money, they tried to stuff another part of the money into a helicopter, but not all of it fit. And some of the money was left lying on the tarmac,” he said of Ghani’s hasty Sunday departure from the airport.
An Apache appears to be doing crowd control to clear the runway for a C-17 military transport aircraft at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, as hundreds of people are trying to get on flights out of Afghanistan. pic.twitter.com/UzuMqiNjKc
— Christiaan Triebert (@trbrtc) August 16, 2021
Russia’s embassy has since indicated it plans to stay open after multiple Western embassies and consulates were shuttered and relocated to Kabul’s airport.
Putin’s personal Afghan envoy, Zamir Kabulov was further cited in RIA as saying, “I hope the government that has fled did not take all the money from the state budget. It will be the bedrock of the budget if something is left.”