Fears that a military plane evacuating Afghans at Kabul airport could be targeted by terrorists have prompted pilots to fire flares and perform steep landings to thwart heat-seeking missiles
Military planes evacuating Afghans from Kabul are dropping flares and carrying out nose dive combat landings amid fears terrorists may try and shoot one down.
Thousands of desperate and fearful Afghans are trying to leave Afghanistan after the country was seized by the Taliban, and more than 5,000 people have been evacuated by British armed forces since August 13.
But fears are growing that a military plane may soon be targeted in a missile attack, so rapid diving combat landings are taking place as the massive rescue operation continues.
One video shows a French transport plane yesterday deploying flares designed to confuse heat seeking technology in what is another method to beat the threat of a missile attack.
Taliban forces are not thought to be attempting to shoot down military aircraft as such an act could trigger another American-led intervention in Afghanistan, Mail Online reports.
US military officials do fear a possible attack by ISIS-linked groups patrolling the airport and based in and around Kabul.
It’s even feared terrorists may use stolen heat-seeking missiles to try and bring down a rescue plane.
The Ministry of Defence confirmed the tragedies this morning and said its thoughts are with those families affected.
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“Our sincere thoughts are with the families of the seven Afghan civilians who have sadly died in crowds in Kabul,” said a spokesman.
“Conditions on the ground remain extremely challenging but we are doing everything we can to manage the situation as safely and securely as possible.”
Chaos has descended on Kabul since the Taliban takeover last Sunday and it has led to opponents of the new regime to seek desperately to leave.
Massive crowds have built up outside Kabul airport with the entry now controlled by the Taliban.
Foreign nationals have been trying to leave via the airport but their path has been hindered by the Talibans and many are worried that by identifying themselves they could face reprisals.
Armed Forces minister James Heappey said: “Scenes of the crush in crowd yesterday were desperate.
“Amidst all that chaos, young British soldiers are showing themselves to be every bit as tough & professional as we’d expect. But it’s their compassion that’s really shining through.”
Boris Johnson has said he will convene G7 leaders on Tuesday for “urgent talks on the situation in Afghanistan”.
He said: “It is vital that the international community works together to ensure safe evacuations, prevent a humanitarian crisis and support the Afghan people to secure the gains of the last 20 years.”
There are concerns that the Taliban will now become a safe haven for terrorist groups including Al Qaeda as they try and plot future attacks.
The UK government is reportedly seeking to have the Taliban identified as a terrorist group which would mean that it would be a criminal offence for anyone from the UK to join or support it.