The shooting at the airport occurred as the Taliban sent fighters north to fight a rebellion against insurgents.
At least one Afghan soldier was killed Monday morning in a shootout outside the Kabul international airport, according to German authorities. This is a new incident amid the rocky Western efforts to evacuate people fleeing the Taliban.
The shooting at the airport came as the Taliban sent fighters north to fight a rebellion against insurgents, who conquered Afghanistan this month in a blitzkrieg.
The Taliban said it had retaken three districts captured by its rivals the day before and had surrounded Panjshir, the last province out of its control.
Afghan security forces crumbled in the face of the Taliban advance despite 20 years of Western assistance, training, and aid. Tens of thousands of Afghans have tried to flee the country since then, fearing a return to the brutal regime imposed by the Taliban the last time they ruled Afghanistan.
That has led to scenes of chaos at Kabul airport, the main route out of the country, and where some Afghan soldiers are assisting Western evacuation efforts.
The shooting Monday morning occurred near the airport’s north gate, the same spot where seven Afghan civilians were killed Saturday in a stampede by a panicked crowd. It was unclear who had shot or the circumstances of the shooting.
However, the German Army tweeted that a member of the Afghan security forces had been killed and three were injured by “unknown attackers.” He later clarified that he was referring to “members of the Afghan Army” who were involved in airport security.
Emergency, a humanitarian organization that runs hospitals in Afghanistan, said it had treated six patients with gunshot wounds from the airport. None were in danger of death.
The US military and NATO did not mention the incident at first. Nor did the Taliban comment.
The tragic scenes around the airport have shocked the world after thousands of Afghans flocked to the scene last week. In the chaos, some people died after clinging to a US C-17 plane taking off on the runway. At least seven people died that day, in addition to the seven who died on Sunday.
The Taliban blame the chaotic evacuation of the US Army and say that Afghans do not have to flee. They have vowed to bring peace and security after years of war and claim that they will not take revenge on those who worked with the United States, NATO, and the overthrown Afghan government.
However, its fighters have violently suppressed protests and beaten people with truncheons in an attempt to control the crowds outside the airport perimeter.
Taliban attacks on former enemies have been reported in recent days. It was not clear if the insurgent leaders said one thing and did another, or if the attacks were initiatives of the combatants.
As the evacuation by air continued, the US government activated the Civil Reserve Air Fleet program and requested 18 aircraft from US airlines to assist in the transport of Afghan refugees and their evacuation to other countries. The voluntary program, created after the airlift during the Berlin blockade, increases military capacity in times of crisis.
On the other hand, in Afghanistan, the Taliban have encountered limited armed resistance from fighters in Baghlan province, some 120 kilometers (75 miles) north of Kabul. Anti-Taliban fighters claimed to have controlled three districts in the Andarab valley on Sunday, but the Taliban said on Monday they had driven them out overnight.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the group’s forces have also surrounded nearby Panjshir, the only one of the 34 Afghan provinces not yet in their possession.
Several opponents of the Taliban have gathered there, including Amrullah Saleh, a vice president of the ousted government who claims to be acting president. Ahmad Massoud, the son of the murdered commander of the Northern Alliance militias that allied with the United States to oust the Taliban from power in 2001, is also in Panjshir.
In interviews with Arab media over the weekend, Massoud said his fighters would resist any attempt to take the province by force, but was open to dialogue with the Taliban.
Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, said that so far there had been no fighting in Pankshir and that his group was seeking a “peaceful solution” to the pulse.