*WARNING - Distressing content*
THREE people are believed to have fallen to their deaths after trying to cling to the tyres of a US military plane after it took off from Kabul Airport.
Thousands of desperate men, women and children stormed onto the runway in an attempt to board a plane out of Afghanistan to flee the Taliban, who have now effectively taken over the country.
At least five people have been killed in the chaos in the last 24 hours, as US military personnel were forced to fire warning shots to stop civilians forcing their way onto their aircraft.
Footage emerged of hundreds of Afghans running alongside the American military C-17 as it taxied to the runway. Some were seeing trying to scramble on board any way they could, while others were seen simply clinging to the outside of the plane.
Kabul Airport runway today. No words needed. pic.twitter.com/8SfzEOprUZ
— Shiv Aroor (@ShivAroor) August 16, 2021
Harrowing video footage showed at least two people falling from the aircraft to their deaths shortly after it had taken off.
A Kabul news agency reported: "BREAKING NEWS - Locals near Kabul airport claim that three young men who were holding themselves tightly in the wheels of an aeroplane fell on top of people's houses.
"One of the locals confirmed this and said that the fall of these people made a loud and terrifying noise."
An Apache helicopter was later scrambled to try and clear the runway, which was flooded with locals desperately trying to escape the carnage.
The Taliban, an Islamist militant organisation based in Afghanistan, swept into the capital on Sunday after taking control of number of the country's major towns and cities over the past few weeks.
The Western-backed government of Afghanistan immediately collapsed and President Ashraf Ghani fled the country to "avoid further bloodshed".
It brings an end to a two-decade campaign in which the US and its allies had tried to transform the country into a stable democracy.
The Taliban had been kept at bay for years thanks to the presence of western military forces in Afghanistan, but the recent withdrawal of troops from the region has allowed the Taliban to re-emerge and take control with little to no resistance.
**Warning - distressing footage**
Stowaway falling from the sky to their death in Kabul, Afghanistan. They hung onto the tyres of the plane. pic.twitter.com/PjuG64xhUx
— Godwin🇿🇼 (@GodwinMungwadzi) August 16, 2021