The family of a 14-year-old girl killed in a stampede at Kabul Airport have released this shocking photograph of her shrouded body to draw attention to the plight of the Afghans desperate to leave the country.
High school student Marzia Rahmati dreamt of a new life outside Afghanistan with her parents and younger siblings and the family had secured visas to travel to nearby Tajikistan, where they had relatives.
Marzia is believed to be one of the youngest of the 12 victims who have died in the disorder at Kabul Airport since the Taliban took over.
But when the crowd panicked at the sound of gunfire on Monday, just hours after the Taliban seized Kabul, Marzia became separated from her parents and fell to the ground, suffering multiple internal injuries as she was trampled to death.
Her aunt, Zakia Ahmadi, 28, said the family were ‘devastated’ by her death but added: ‘We want people to see what is really happening here right now, a little girl is dead because the world turned away from us.
High school student Marzia Rahmati, 14, was killed in a stampede as gunfire rang out at Kabul airport on Monday
Footage shared by Marzia’s family shows crowds at the airport panicking as gunshots are heard and a US soldier can be heard shouting: ‘Get the f*** down’
People chasing after a USAF C-17 cargo jet at Kabul airport on Monday, when thousands poured onto the runway for a chance to flee the Taliban
‘My sister Fatima, Marzia’s mother, and her family wanted their daughter to continue her education, and were worried that wouldn’t be possible under the Taliban?
‘They had all the right documents to leave the country, but in all the chaos at the airport, they didn’t have a chance. The crowd was rushing all over the place and then there was gunfire and everyone panicked.
‘Marzia’s father Mustafa and her mother were protecting their two younger children, a boy and a girl when the people started running and Marzia became separated from them and was knocked down in the rush.
‘When her father got to her she was barely alive and he carried her for a long time before they were able to get medical help.
‘She received a lot of bruises all over her and there was internal bleeding, and in hospital they put cotton wool to absorb the blood coming from her nose and mouth, but she died soon after arriving there.’
Marzia’s mother Fatima, 32, was also injured in the crush, but later released from hospital.
Zakia said her niece, a gifted student, was a year 9 pupil at a girls’ school and dreamed of being a teacher. Her father Mustafa, 38, worked for a local NGO as a programme coordinator.
She added: ‘The family were so desperate to get out of the country that they took Marzia out of school, missing exams, because they thought this might be their last chance to leave. Now they are broken. ‘
U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to the 10th Mountain Division stand security at Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, on Monday
Hundreds of people gather near a U.S. Air Force C-17 transport plane at the perimeter of the international airport in Kabul on Monday
Marzia’s parents had secured visas for the family to travel to nearby Tajikistan, where they had relatives
A total of at least 12 people have been killed in and around Kabul airport since Sunday, according to a Taliban official today.
The official, quoted anonymously by Reuters, said the deaths were either caused by gunshots or stampedes.
He urged the crowds at the gates to go home if they did not have the right to travel and said the Taliban ‘don’t want to hurt’ anyone at the airport.
Shocking scenes of chaos have been seen each day as thousands clamour to leave the country.
The airport itself remains under US control but the Taliban have set up a ring of steel around the surrounding roads, controlling all access. Witnesses have reported armed members of the jihadist group preventing people – even those with travel documents – from entering the compound.