Intel

Military Photographers Capture Scenes From Afghanistan Evacuation

August 18, 2021Hannah Ray Lambert
evacuation

US Army soldiers assigned to the 10th Mountain Division stand guard at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 15, 2021. Soldiers and Marines are assisting with the drawdown of US personnel in Afghanistan. US Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Isaiah Campbell.

New imagery released from military photographers shows what it’s like on the front lines of the evacuation effort underway in Kabul, Afghanistan.


The pictures present a much calmer snapshot of the evacuation than the initial photos that emerged as crowds of people flooded the airport, desperate to escape the now Taliban-controlled nation. Indeed, the captions provided by the Department of Defense describe Marines and soldiers as assisting with an “orderly drawdown of designated personnel in Afghanistan.”


Department of State personnel wear face masks and helmets and roll suitcases behind them on their way to be processed for evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 15, 2021. US Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Isaiah Campbell.

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A Marine assigned to the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit escorts a Department of State employee to be processed for evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 15, 2021. US Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Isaiah Campbell.

Photos taken Sunday, Aug. 15, show US Army soldiers assigned to the 10th Mountain Division standing guard outside Hamid Karzai International Airport while Marines process Department of State employees inside. That same day, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, and the Taliban took control of the capital city.


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Marines of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit process Department of State personnel for evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 15, 2021. US Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Isaiah Campbell.

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A Marine assigned to the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit processes an evacuee at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 15, 2021. US Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Isaiah Campbell.

An Afghan child sleeps on the cargo floor of a C-17 Globemaster III, kept warm by the uniform of the C-17 loadmaster, during an evacuation flight from Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 15, 2021. US Air Force photo.

One Afghan child was pictured sleeping on the floor of a C-17, kept warm by the uniform of a loadmaster, during an evacuation flight from Kabul. Other children received food and toys from service members after arriving at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar.


evacuation
Members of the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing distribute toys to Afghan children Aug. 16, 2021, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Thousands of military service members are helping with the evacuation of US citizens and Afghan allies following the Taliban takeover. US Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kylie Barrow.

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Members from the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing distribute food and water to Afghan citizens in as part of Operation Allies Refuge Aug. 16, 2021, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. US Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kylie Barrow.

Additional photographs show Marines waiting for a flight at Al Udeid Air Base Tuesday. Several thousand additional troops were deployed to the theater late last week as the situation deteriorated.


Marines assigned to the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit await a flight at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Aug. 17, 2021. US Marine Corps photo by 1st Lt. Mark Andries.

Marines assigned to the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit fly to Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 17, 2021. US Marine Corps photo by 1st Lt. Mark Andries.

Dozens of Marines with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit crammed into a plane and flew to Hamid Karzai International Airport Tuesday to assist with evacuation efforts. US officials announced plans to fly up to 9,000 people out of the country per day during the evacuation.


US Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie, the commander of US Central Command, arrives at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Afghanistan, Aug. 17, 2021. US Navy photo by Capt. William Urban.

US Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie, the commander of US Central Command, arrived in Kabul Tuesday as well. In a written statement, McKenzie said he saw military air traffic controllers and ground handlers “rapidly scaling up operations to ensure the smooth flow of military reinforcements to the airport” as well as evacuation efforts. The airfield is secure and open to civilian air traffic, according to Central Command.


McKenzie also said he met with Taliban senior leaders Sunday in Doha and “cautioned them against interference” in the evacuation. He said he made it clear any attack would be “met with overwhelming force” in defense of American troops.


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Commanding general of US Central Command Kenneth F. McKenzie tours an evacuation control center at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Afghanistan, Aug. 17, 2021. US Marine Corps photo by 1st Lt. Mark Andries.

Meanwhile, Air Force photos show US Embassy staff evacuated from Afghanistan at Al Udeid Air Base Tuesday, boarding a flight to Kuwait.


US Embassy personnel from Afghanistan board a Qatar Airways flight to Kuwait on Aug. 17, 2021, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. US Air Force photo by Senior Airman Noah Coger.

US Embassy personnel from Afghanistan board a Qatar Airways flight to Kuwait on Aug. 17, 2021, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. US Air Force photo by Senior Airman Noah Coger.

Read Next: Afghan Update: US Military Resumes Kabul Evacuation, Grisly Footage of Afghans Caught in Aircraft Landing Gear Surfaces



Hannah Ray Lambert
Hannah Ray Lambert

Hannah Ray Lambert is a former staff writer for Coffee or Die who previously covered everything from murder trials to high school trap shooting teams. She spent several months getting tear gassed during the 2020-2021 civil unrest in Portland, Oregon. When she’s not working, Hannah enjoys hiking, reading, and talking about authors and books on her podcast Between Lewis and Lovecraft.

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