The U.S. flew in troops to ensure the safety of Americans fleeing the country, but the situation deteriorated quickly, with U.S. military personnel reportedly firing on a crowd and killing at least three people at Kabul’s airport overnight.

The Wall Street Journal, which didn’t directly implicate U.S. troops in the deaths of the three men, reports that about 6,000 U.S. troops are on the ground in Afghanistan:

U.S. Marines fired warning shots late Sunday when hundreds of Afghans who breached the perimeter rushed to board an idling C-17 transport aircraft, a Western military official said.

According to people trapped in the airport, American troops also repeatedly shot in the air to disperse the crowds during the night. Hundreds of Afghan civilians were seen close to the runway and around parked planes on Monday morning, with some hanging from boarding ramps as they scrambled to get into the aircraft, hindering evacuation efforts.

The U.S. military used two military helicopters flying low overhead to try to disperse the crowds, using smoke grenades and firing shots into the air, passengers said.

There were roughly 6,000 American troops in the Kabul airport or headed there, U.S. military officials said Sunday. More remain on standby in Kuwait.

Afghans had rushed to the airport after rumors circulated that flights were taking passengers even without passports and tickets.


It’s not immediately clear where the girls robotics team might be at the moment, though unconfirmed reports on Twitter claim a BBC journalist had seen the girls at Kabul’s airport. If that’s true, we can only hope they’re safe, something that’s not guaranteed for anyone who opposes the Taliban’s extreme anti-woman interpretation of Islam.