A philanthropist circulated imagery showing a rescue plane depart Kabul with several vacant seats on Aug. 19.
Nowzad Charity founder Paul Farthing strongly criticized the Afghan evacuation effort. The former British soldier shared a photo taken from inside the plane. The picture suggests the aircraft he boarded could have carried dozens more asylum seekers who are fleeing the Taliban.
“[My spouse] Kaisa is on her way home but this aircraft is empty … scandalous as thousands wait outside Kabul Airport being crushed as they cannot get in,” he said on Twitter.
Farthing expressed concern that many at-risk Afghans will be stranded, if evacuation planes continue to fly at less than capacity.
“Sadly people will be left behind when this mission is over as we cannot get it right,” he said.
Why can we not get this humanitarian rescue mission right? No-one can get into #Kabul airport. People are dying. The military has to get a grip NOW. @BBCWorld @cnnbrk @FoxNews @nytimes @POTUS @SecDef @SenBooker #disaster #Afghanistan https://t.co/ZB2Wp6aDY0— NOWZAD (@Nowzad) August 19, 2021
The military veteran revealed aircrafts are constantly departing Hamid Karzai International Airport hourly. However, not all desperate Afghans are allowed to enter. This left pilots and cabin crew with no choice but to leave the Middle Eastern country with several empty seats.
Farthing believes the only reason he, his wife, and pregnant country manager with her young son made it onto the flight was because they headed to the airport early at night.
Other evacuees were not so fortunate. The philanthropist claimed at least one acquaintance of his tried to reach the airport later but was unable to travel “within one mile” of the airport.
“We are going to leave people behind, that is an absolute given,” he said according to Sky News. “This is an absolute screw-up of an evacuation [and] we are going to be watching some absolutely horrific scenes.”
BL understands one German aircraft capable of carrying 150 people took off with just seven individuals aboard.
Farthing, who was previously deployed in the country’s Helmand region back in the mid-2000s, revealed he postponed leaving the country until all of his employees were safely evacuated. He suspects Taliban violence will continue to escalate as the deadline to withdraw nears.
“We will have left people behind and I can see soldiers will be seriously injured on the last day as the last planes take off,” he said according to the broadcaster.
Some Afghans are so desperate to flee they passed their infants over the barbed wire perimeter fence to U.S. soldiers on the other side.
Many of these asylum seekers have complained about Taliban fighters trying to scare them off with gunfire, whipping, and stabbing with sharp objects. Afghans have also accused militant group members of destroying their official documents that permit them to leave the country.