Evacuation planes using combat landings, decoy flares at Kabul airport


Evacuation planes landing in Kabul to rescue US citizens and Afghans are taking no chances — they’re making nose-dive combat landings and deploying decoy flares to ward off potential missile attacks.

One French Air Force A400M taking off from the beleaguered airport launched a half-dozen flares moments after takeoff, footage from ITV Turkey posted by CBS News shows.

The flares are designed to draw heat-seeking missiles away from the aircraft.

Thousands remain stranded at the Afghan airport after US forces pulled out of the country and sparked a swift takeover by the extreme Islamist Taliban, which was ousted from power by US and Western forces in 2001.

Authorities say some 20,000 US citizens and Afghan allies remain at the airfield, desperate to flee the country for fear of reprisals by Taliban militia.

Afghan citizens packed into a British armed forces plane to flee the country on August 21, 2021.
Photo by Ben Shread/MoD Crown Copyright via Getty Images

The Pentagon said about 5,800 US troops, bolstered by foreign forces, have secured the airport, but Taliban forces remain outside in an uneasy understanding by both sides.

Nonetheless, the military is taking no chances given the unpredictable history of the Taliban and is deploying the landing and takeoff measures as a precaution.

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