A Ukrainian plane that reached Afghanistan on Tuesday to evacuate Ukrainian citizens was hijacked by unidentified people who flew it into Iran, Russian News Agency TASS quoted Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister, Yevgeny Yenin, as saying.
“On Tuesday, the plane was practically stolen from us. It flew into Iran with an unidentified group of passengers onboard instead of airlifting Ukrainians,” Yenin said, according to TASS.
“Our next three evacuation attempts were also not successful because our people could not get into the airport,” he added.
The minister said the hijackers were armed, reported TASS, adding that Yenin did not comment on whether Kiev would be taking measures for the aircraft’s recovery.
He, however, assured that Ukraine’s diplomatic service headed by its foreign minister “had been working in the crash test mode” to evacuate its citizens from Afghanistan.
Chaos at Kabul airport
There have been reports of chaos at the Kabul airport in recent days as countries across the world ramp up efforts to evacuate their citizens from Afghanistan after the Taliban took over the country. There have been stampedes and crushing injuries in the crowds, especially as Taliban fighters fire into the air to drive away those desperate to get on any flight out of the country.
The first reports of the chaos came just a day after Taliban swept into Kabul on August 15.
At least five people were killed as thousands packed into the Afghan capital’s airport the next day, rushing the tarmac and pushing onto planes in desperate attempts to flee the country.
US soldiers had fired warning shots as they struggled to manage the chaotic evacuation.
More Afghan citizens were later reported dead as they hung off the side of a US military cargo plane in a desperate attempt to leave the country.
On Sunday, the British military acknowledged the deaths of seven civilians in the crowds in Kabul.
“Conditions on the ground remain extremely challenging but we are doing everything we can to manage the situation as safely and securely as possible,” the defence ministry said in a statement.