Over 18,000 people have been flown out of Kabul since the Taliban took control of the Afghanistan capital. According to NATO officials, there are plans to redouble the efforts.
The officials who spoke with Reuters on Friday under the condition of anonymity said thousands of people desperate to flee the country were still thronging the airport, even though the Taliban had urged people without legal travel documents to go home.
The speed with which the Taliban conquered Afghanistan as the U.S. and other foreign troops were completing their withdrawal, surprised even their leaders, leaving power vacuums in many places.
However, the Taliban urged unity ahead of Friday prayers, the first since they seized power, calling on Imams to persuade people not to leave Afghanistan amid the chaos at the airport, protests, and reports of violence.
Several people were killed in the eastern city of Asadabad on Thursday when Taliban militants fired on a crowd demonstrating their allegiance to the vanquished Afghan Republic, as the Taliban set about establishing an emirate governed by strict Islamic laws.
A witness told Reuters that there were similar shows of defiance in two other cities, Jalalabad and Khost in the east, as Afghans used celebrations of the nation’s 1919 Independence from British control to vent their anger on the Taliban takeover.