Dead Afghan Found in US Military Jet's Landing Gear

Discovery comes amid chaotic evacuation from Kabul

People rush toward Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 16, 2021 / Reuters
August 17, 2021

The body of a dead Afghan was discovered in the wheel well of a cargo jet involved in the U.S. military's chaotic evacuation from Kabul, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.

The plane's crew discovered the human remains after the jet departed from Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai International Airport. The plane is one of several cargo jets the military has used to evacuate Americans and pre-cleared Afghans who fear reprisal from the Taliban, which took control of the capital city on Sunday.

Kabul's airport has been the scene of a frenzied evacuation effort amid the U.S. troop withdrawal and the Taliban's takeover of the country. Thousands of Afghans flooded its tarmac in a desperate attempt to board U.S. flights—some civilians climbed onto the planes and fell from the jets mid-air. At least seven Afghans have died at the airport amid the disarray, according to the Associated Press. The U.S. military, which paused evacuations Monday, has deployed thousands of troops to the airport to help resume operations.

The United States risks leaving behind thousands of Afghans who aided the military in its decades-long conflict in the country. The Afghan nationals qualify for special U.S. visas but face an extensive backlog and persecution from the Taliban, according to the New York Times.

In a speech on Monday, President Joe Biden said he stands "squarely behind" his decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from the country by a Sept. 11 deadline. The president blamed Afghan government forces for the Taliban's takeover, saying they "are not willing to fight for themselves."