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Gunfire at Kabul airport kills 1 as chaotic evacuations continue

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Posted at 2:30 AM, Aug 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-23 15:28:04-04

The German military says a firefight at one of the gates of Kabul's international airport killed at least one Afghan soldier.

The shooting early Monday was the latest chaos to engulf Western efforts to evacuate those fleeing the Taliban takeover of the country.

The shooting is just the latest deadly event to take place at the Kabul airport amid a chaotic evacuation of Americans, Afghans who have been granted special immigrant visas and others who may face danger under Taliban rule.

On Sunday, seven Afghans were killed at the airport in what the Associated Press described as "a panicked crush of people" trying to enter the airfield. Last week, another seven Afghans were killed after videos showed hundreds rushing runways and clinging to the fuselage of a departing plane in an attempt to flee the country.

In remarks on Sunday, President Joe Biden said that evacuations have picked up in recent days, though still below the maximum levels at which the military believes evacuations can occur.

He also confirmed that threats from ISIS-K and Taliban harassment had kept some Americans from safely reaching the airport. He noted that the military was in contact with those American citizens and would assist them in getting them home safely.

During the White House press briefing Monday, national security adviser Jake Sullivan noted that the U.S. evacuations are continuing to increase, but that the Biden administration remains in "daily" contact with the Taliban regarding the ongoing safety of those involved.

The Taliban meanwhile sent fighters to the north of the capital to eliminate pockets of armed resistance to their lightning advance earlier this month.

The Taliban said they retook three districts that fell the day before and had surrounded Panjshir, the last province that remains out of their control. Both sides in Panjshir have said they prefer a peaceful solution to the standoff.