Parents in Afghanistan are doing whatever it takes to save their children from life under Taliban rule.
Video footage taken at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul shows a baby being passed along the heaving crowd as hoards of people clamour for a passage out of the country.
It was apparently a parent’s desperate attempt to get their child to the front of the queue and to safety – even if it meant being separated from them.
The recording has been widely shared on social media after it was uploaded to Instagram by British journalist Rustam Wahab.
In a caption to the clip, which was viewed more than 250,000 times in 15 hours, he wrote: “People are so desperate to escape the T-ban that they’re passing babies and kids forward to the gate at Kabul airport.”
A separate video showed a small girl being handed over a wall to Western soldiers, as citizens continue to swarm the airport in the hope of securing a way out of the Taliban-controlled capital.
Responding to the latter footage, British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the UK was unable to evacuate unaccompanied children from the country.
He said the child was passed over the wall as her family was being taken out.
"We can’t just take a minor on their own," Wallace told Sky News when asked about the clip. "You will find as you see in the footage I think you’re showing now, the child was taken - that will be because the family will be taken as well."
"It will be the challenge trying to make it through that crowd," Wallace said. "We are finding other ways of dealing with that but that is what’s happening."
Desperate mothers are throwing their babies over razor wire to escape the #Taliban according to eyewitness reports.… https://t.co/iY0sytJyT6
Wallace said British soldiers at the airport were facing a difficult situation given the desperation of some Afghans to leave.
"It is very very difficult for those soldiers as you’ve seen in your own footage, dealing with some desperate, desperate people, many of whom are just wanting to leave the country," he said.
Chaotic scenes of Afghans flooding the airport have continued to shake the world – serving as a painful illustration of people’s despair and terror at the new Taliban regime.
Several people clung to the side of a US military plane on Monday, with at least five people losing their lives amid the tumult, according to eyewitnesses.
US troops fired warning shots to stop people getting on flights taking out diplomats and embassy employees, and two gunmen were also shot at the airport, American officials told Reuters.
The flights were later halted because of the disorder, with Germany saying it had to divert its first of three planned evacuation flights to the Uzbek capital Tashkent because it could not land due to the throngs of people on the tarmac.
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said US forces were working with Turkish and other international troops to clear Kabul airport to allow evacuation flights to resume. He said several hundred people had been flown out so far.
Videos and photos posted on social media showed hundreds of civilians invading the airport’s single runway, jostling to climb stairs onto overhead gangways and sitting on the top of passenger jets in the hope of getting a flight out.
"This is our airport but we are seeing diplomats being evacuated while we wait in complete uncertainty," Rakhshanda Jilali, an Afghan human rights activist who was trying to get to Pakistan, told Reuters in a message from the airport.
A US State Department spokesperson said all embassy personnel, including Ambassador Ross Wilson, had been transferred to the airport to await evacuation.
One video showed a military helicopter flying low to pave a path for a plane trying to take off through crowds of people.
Local news agency Asvaka reported that some people who had clung to the outside of a plane plunged to their deaths after it took off.
One witness said he had seen five bodies piled up in a vehicle. A video posted on social media showed three bodies on the ground near what appeared to be an airport side entrance. Tolo News reported at least 10 people had died at the airport