London, UK | XINHUA | Seven Afghan civilians were killed amid chaos near the Kabul airport as people swarmed the area in hopes of boarding an evacuation flight following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said Sunday.
The ministry did not elaborate when they were killed or if the latest death toll is on top of the four women reportedly crushed to death in a stampede in front of the airport on Saturday.
“Conditions on the ground remain extremely challenging but we are doing everything we can to manage the situation as safely and securely as possible,” it said in a statement.
British Secretary of Defense Ben Wallace told British newspaper The Daily Mail on Sunday that “no nation will be able to get everyone out” before the Aug. 31 deadline set by the United States for a total withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“Perhaps the Americans will be permitted to stay longer and they will have our complete support if they do,” Wallace said in a veiled plea for Washington to extend the deadline.
The United States on Saturday issued a security alert urging its citizens to avoid the Kabul airport amid concerns about the potential for attacks by the Afghan branch of the Islamic State group.
Leaders of the Group of Seven will meet online early next week to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, as the rift between Washington and its European allies seems to have widened over the former’s hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan.