As Afghans try to flee the country, CNN reporter describes Taliban doing 'crowd control' at Kabul airport

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CNN reporter Nick Paton Walsh described how the Taliban was doing “crowd control” as Afghans try to flee Afghanistan through the airport in Kabul. 

On Monday, CNN’s “Inside Politics” reported more details regarding the current state of Afghanistan following the near complete Taliban takeover. Walsh described to anchor John King what he saw as a “volatile” situation at the Kabul airport as citizens attempted to flee. The chyron also noted that U.S. troops were forced to shoot two armed men who fired at them within the airport.

Walsh then described the Taliban as providing “crowd control” for the United States as they kept Afghan citizens from swarming the inside of the airport.

“At the gate were the Taliban, and they were essentially doing crowd control for the benefit of the United States, keeping back many of the Afghans trying to swarm that particular airport,” Walsh said. “There will be some who say ‘well, they were trying to prevent people from leaving whom they might consider to be U.S. allies,’ but clearly on the ground, they were doing things that were very beneficial to the U.S.”

This followed several reports of a chaotic situation at the Kabul airport. Videos showed hundreds of people sprinting towards the airport, some with children, in a desperate attempt to flee the country before subjecting to Taliban rule. Unconfirmed videos also claimed to show many people Afghans running after C-130s as they prepared for takeoff with at least two people falling from an ascending plane.

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King gave further context to Walsh’s statements, returning to the subject of the Taliban’s hostile takeover.

“Let’s reinforce the context of that. You say the Taliban are crowd control for the Americans outside of the airport. But while that might be helpful at the moment, it is also just beyond any reasonable doubt now that outside that patch of land that you call it, the airport, Afghanistan is now under the control of the Taliban fully period. Full stop,” King said.

Walsh agreed that there is no doubt Afghanistan is under the control of the Taliban.

Walsh later added that the Taliban, for the most part, seem to be maintaining “calm and order.”

“They [the Taliban] have maintained today, as far as we can see, calm & order inside the capital. Remarkable sight, frankly, to drive down the street & see Taliban, who I’ve only ever noticed as sort of hiding behind trees or far away in the hills as they took potshots at Americans, now walking down the streets carrying their guns in broad daylight,” he said.

“They are, it seems, keeping a degree of calm. Perhaps they’re looking for some element of international respectability,” he said.

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President Joe Biden returned to the White House and addressed the nation about the ongoing crisis. During his remarks, Biden defended his decision to withdraw U.S. troops and appeared to deflect blame to the Trump administration and the Afghanistan government for the chaos. 

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