US Forces Reportedly Discover Body of Afghan Lodged in Landing Gear of C-17 Transport Aircraft
© REUTERS / Shekib RahmaniHundreds of people gather near a U.S. Air Force C-17 transport plane at a perimeter at the international airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Aug. 16, 2021. On Monday, the U.S. military and officials focus was on Kabul’s airport, where thousands of Afghans trapped by the sudden Taliban takeover rushed the tarmac and clung to U.S. military planes deployed to fly out staffers of the U.S. Embassy, which shut down Sunday, and others
© REUTERS / Shekib Rahmani
On Monday, hundreds of individuals were seen running alongside a Boeing C-17 Globemaster that was evacuating US personnel and Afghans from Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. The US has said it remains committed to a full evacuation of Americans and Afghans with special immigration visas.
The landing gear of an American C-17 military transport aircraft has been rendered inoperable after the body of an individual believed to be an Afghan was discovered in the section of the plane, Politico reported on Tuesday, citing two sources with knowledge of the US military matter.
The individual's body was said to be found when the C-17 made emergency landing hours after taking off from the international airport in Kabul on Monday. Sources believe the person attempted to stow away in the landing gear, which was unable to retract during the unplanned landing.
Discovery of the person's body comes hours after an extremely graphic video reportedly showed an individual's legs wildly flailing under the aircraft during transit.
It was also reported that at least two individuals were seen falling from the C-17 not long after takeoff.
Additional viral videos depicted the grim scene at the airport as hundreds of Afghans swarming around the large military transport aircraft as it traveled down the tarmac. A number of Afghans were seen holding onto the sides of the C-17, including one man who recorded him and other gripping to the aircraft's fuselage.
"First-person view of clinging on to a plane taking off from the Kabul airport." -- via https://t.co/H3hmce7hyd pic.twitter.com/bmKisY4JZp— crabcrawler (@crabcrawler1) August 17, 2021
On Tuesday, the Pentagon confirmed to reporters that, despite the previous scene, the airport in Kabul was now secure.
"The airfield is secure, as I said earlier those folks that were there on the southern part are no longer inside the airfield. And there is nobody no longer in there," said US Army Maj. Gen. Henry "Hank" Taylor, joint staff director of current operations. "And as you saw we were able to get those -- some passengers out the day before. But right now, I don't have the number of those waiting for [a] flight right now, but I'll be able to get that later on."
Taylor claimed the US intends to evacuate around 5,000 to 9,000 individuals per day, but these estimates are dependent on "a number of factors" and "circumstances could change" in the near future.
© REUTERS / Defense OneEvacuees crowd the interior of a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft, carrying some 640 Afghans to Qatar from Kabul, Afghanistan August 15, 2021. Picture taken August 15, 2021
Evacuees crowd the interior of a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft, carrying some 640 Afghans to Qatar from Kabul, Afghanistan August 15, 2021. Picture taken August 15, 2021
© REUTERS / Defense One
By Monday, August 23, the US is expected to have around 3,000 troops on the ground.
John F. Kirby, the Pentagon's press secretary, underscored that US forces have an "awful lot" to do to ensure the Kabul-based airport remains "safe and secure." On Monday, Kirby informed reporters that the Department of Defense would be looking into reports of civilian-related deaths associated with military transport aircraft takeoffs.