The traffic of military and civilian flights was interrupted for several hours at Kabul-Hamid Karzai International Airport (KBL) on August 16, 2021, over safety concerns.
The runways were invaded by thousands of people attempting to flee the country as the Taliban took control of the capital.
The chaos that ensued led to the deaths of at least seven people, as some clung onto departing aircraft and others were trampled to death.
As a consequence, flights were interrupted while the US armed forces forced locals to vacate the runways. They resumed in the evening, announced the Vice Director for Logistics on the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, Major General Hank Taylor.
During the night, an Airbus A400M transport aircraft of the French Air Force landed in Kabul bringing in special forces to organize the evacuation, before leaving with French nationals on board.
“Once welcomed and accommodated within the French Forces stationed in the United Arab Emirates, nationals will be transported to France” on board an A330 MRTT Phenix, the French Ministry of Armed Forces explained.
Quelques heures après les annonces du Président de la République sur l’#Afghanistan, un premier #A400M qui amenait des forces spéciales repart de Kaboul avec des ressortissants français. pic.twitter.com/7mf03KjaGa— FrenchEmbassyKabul (@AmbassadeKaboul) August 16, 2021
On August 16, 2021, the Afghanistan civil aviation authority issued a notice to airmen (NOTAM) advising that Kabul airspace had been released to the military.