A 20-year-old Afghan student who made it to the last flight that Air India flew from Kabul on Sunday told NDTV that he considered himself “very lucky” to have made it to the aircraft just as the Taliban took the country’s capital.
“There were around 129 people on the flight. Before getting into the flight I was very, very anxious and had a lot of tension because when I woke up, I read the news that Taliban were getting the capital Kabul,” the student, who identified himself as Abdullah, said.
“I started heading to the airport. There was massive traffic on the way to the airport. I ended up walking. The flight had mostly Indians trying to get out. I recognised three government officials. Our flight was delayed by 2.5 hours,” he said.
“I consider myself very lucky. When our flight took off, the Taliban captured Kabul and that was the last flight. But we luckily landed safely,” Abdullah said.
“The chaos of people started just when this flight took off. People were heading to the airport, trying to get out of the country without even having a proper visa or at least a proper passport,” he said.
“People inside the flight were chatting about the situation. Some people were happy because they were flying to a safer country. Some were worried because they were leaving their families. Some were anxious like me about whether the flight was going to be successful or not. There was fear of the Taliban cancelling flights. We saw one flight going to Dubai getting cancelled,” Abdullah said.
“It was around 8:30 pm when the flight landed in Delhi airport. I had missed calls from my family, they were worried. They were happy when they heard from me,” he said.
“There is a risk but if one wants to be safe, staying at home is better when the situation is unclear. My family is safe and at home and I’m not that much worried,” Abdullah said.
After Air India’s flight AI-244, which arrived on Sunday from Kabul with 129 passengers, the future of the airline’s three-times-a-week flight to the strife-hit country is now uncertain given Taliban terrorists’ near-total takeover of even the capital, sources have said.
For the last three days, the Kabul airport has seen gut-wrenching scenes of people desperate to get out of Afghanistan as the Taliban swept the country. Many have been killed including a few who tried to cling to the landing gear of planes and fell to their deaths from the sky.