One Afghan killed, several hurt in exchange of gunfire at Kabul airport

The US military used three military helicopters to take 169 Americans to the airport in Kabul from a building 200 meters away.

 TALIBAN FIGHTERS stand outside the Interior Ministry in Kabul yesterday.  (photo credit: REUTERS)
TALIBAN FIGHTERS stand outside the Interior Ministry in Kabul yesterday.
(photo credit: REUTERS)

One member of the Afghan forces was killed and several were wounded in an exchange of gunfire outside Kabul airport on Monday, but no US personnel were hurt, the US military said.

"The incident appeared to begin when an unknown hostile actor fired upon Afghan security forces involved in monitoring access to the gate. The Afghans returned fire, and in keeping with their right of self-defense, so too did US and coalition troops," the statement said.

On Thursday, the US military used three military helicopters to take 169 Americans to the airport in Kabul from a building 200 meters (656 feet) away.

On Monday, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told a news briefing that US troops based at Kabul airport flew a helicopter outside the airport perimeter a second time to collect Americans for evacuation flights.

He said US troops had used other means to collect Americans outside the airport but gave no details.

 Afghanistan Special Forces try to keep a crowd from entering, outside Kabul Airport, Afghanistan, August 18, 2021 in this still image obtained from a social media video obtained by REUTERS. (credit: REUTERS) Afghanistan Special Forces try to keep a crowd from entering, outside Kabul Airport, Afghanistan, August 18, 2021 in this still image obtained from a social media video obtained by REUTERS. (credit: REUTERS)

Army Major General William Taylor, with the US military's Joint Staff, told the briefing about 5,800 US troops were assisting evacuation efforts at Kabul airport.

Kirby said several thousand Americans had been evacuated since Aug. 14 but declined to give details. He said the aim remained to finish the withdrawal by the end of August.

With thousands of desperate Afghans and foreigners crowding into Kabul's airport in the hope of fleeing Afghanistan's new Taliban rulers, pressure has grown on US President Joe Biden to extend his Aug. 31 evacuation deadline.

"There's a lot of people, and they are desperate," Kirby said. "We are trying to do the best we can to get them out of harm's way as fast as possible."