'They are going to kill us': Afghans terrorized as Kabul embassy tells Americans shelter in place

Afghans inside Kabul report chaos as Taliban breaches the city.
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Afghan security forces patrol Kabul on Sunday
Afghan security forces patrol Kabul on Sunday
(Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

People in Kabul reported chaos in the streets Sunday as Afghans try to escape the encroaching Taliban while exit routes, including commercial air flights, increasingly are closed. 

"Things are manic," one person told Just the News from inside Kabul on Sunday. "There is gunfire, and people are fleeing."

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul issued a security bulletin announcing a deteriorating situation at the last seemingly viable exit point, Hamid Karzai International Airport, just outside the city center.

"There are reports of the airport taking fire; therefore we are instructing U.S. citizens to shelter in place," the embassy wrote in the Aug. 15 bulletin. Any U.S. citizens wanting help should register on the embassy website, the bulletin read. Afghans seeking visas should also register, even if they already have sent information to the embassy, the bulletin noted.

A video viewed by Just the News depicts the streets filled with cars blaring their horns, while ordinary citizens - men, women, and young children - hastily walk while talking on cell phones and carrying bags of belongings.

The scene unfolded rapidly amid a long-telegraphed Taliban advance on Kabul that nonetheless seemed to come as a surprise as it evolved in the overnight hours. The breakthrough came around 2:45 a.m. EDT, when contacts in Kabul reported that the city had been breached.

The breach spurred intense action among official and private networks, as Westerners scrambled to help their friends and co-workers exit the besieged country. It also spurred a furious exchange of information and rumors, including the story that one American company sent its workers home from the airport on the understanding that they would be evacuated, and now they are trapped inside the city. Just the News was not able to immediately reach the company for comment.

Civilians, meanwhile, are desperate to leave the city.

"We need to get out," one contact said. "They are going to kill us." 

The Taliban recently captured most of Afghanistan in a lightning-fast assault that reached the capital within days.