Haitian deportees bit ICE agents on plane from Texas border

Illegal Haitian immigrants being deported from the US bit Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers on board a plane that was preparing to take off from a US Air Force base in Texas, according to a report Wednesday.

The incident was reportedly among at least three this week in which Haitians busted for sneaking into the US from Mexico became violent after being put on flights home.

Two unidentified men got out of their seats on a plane that was taxiing toward a runway at Laughlin AFB in Del Rio, Texas — where as many as 15,000 illegal Haitian migrants had massed over the past week — and attacked ICE officers who were bitten amid the chaos around 8 a.m. Monday, the Washington Examiner reported.

“[The Haitians] all realized they were going back to Haiti and lost it,” a senior federal law enforcement official familiar with the incident reportedly said.

US Customs and Border Protection mounted officers attempt to contain migrants as they cross the Rio Grande on Sept. 19, 2021.
AP Photo/Felix Marquez

The plane returned to the gate and the men were taken into custody pending prosecution on federal assault charges, the Examiner said.

The incident followed another one earlier Monday, when a 5 a.m. flight to Haiti had to be canceled because captured migrants awaiting deportation were “being disruptive and not complying” while the plane was preparing to take off.

“They were fighting personnel on the plane,” a source said of the unidentified male assailants.

Deportees generally can’t be restrained during flights under Federal Aviation Administration rules, the Examiner said.

Haitian migrants return to Haiti after US authorities stopped them at the Texas border.
Haitian migrants return to Haiti after US authorities stopped them at the Texas border.
REUTERS/Ralph Tedy Erol

Meanwhile, a group of male migrants who were turned over to local authorities at the airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, broke free and stormed onto another plane that had recently arrived on Tuesday, NBC News reported.

The plane’s pilots, who work for a US government contractor, and three ICE agents were assaulted during that incident, which took place while migrant families were still on board, NBC said, citing a source familiar with the matter.

As many as 14,000 Haitian migrants were gathered under and around the Del Rio International Bridge this past weekend, overwhelming the ability of immigration authorities to deal with them, The Associated Press has reported.

Those taken into custody have been freed on a “very, very large scale” — likely in the thousands — with many getting notices to appear at immigration offices within 60 days, an official told AP.

Some have been put on buses to El Paso, Laredo and the Rio Grande Valley, while others are being flown to Tucson, Ariz., AP said.



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Russian plane with six on board crashes near Khabarovsk – reports

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MOSCOW — A Russian Antonov An-26 transport plane with six crew on board crashed near the city of Khabarovsk in Russian’s far east, the Interfax news agency reported on Wednesday, citing an anonymous source.

According to another news agency, TASS, the plane belonged to a company that performs technical checks at Russian airports.

The emergencies ministry said search and rescue groups were en route to the location where the plane had gone off the radar. (Reporting by Maxim Rodionov Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Kevin Liffey)



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After Afghans fell from plane, families live with horror

KABUL, Afghanistan — It’s a scene that has come to symbolize the chaotic end to America’s 20 years of war in Afghanistan: A lumbering U.S. Air Force cargo plane takes off from Kabul airport, chased by hundreds of desperate Afghan men scrambling to get on the aircraft.

As the C-17 transporter gains altitude, shaky mobile phone video captures two tiny dots dropping from the plane. Footage from another angle shows many in the crowd on the tarmac stopping in their tracks and pointing.

The full extent of the horror becomes apparent only later. The dots, it turns out, were desperate Afghans hidden in the wheel well. As the wheels folded into the body of the plane, the stowaways faced the choice of being crushed to death or letting go and plunging to the ground.

More than a month later, much remains unclear about what happened in that tragic takeoff on Aug. 16, a day after the Taliban swept into Kabul, prompting a flood of Afghans trying to escape the country.

Afghan girls look up and listen as a neighbour describes when two men fell from a U.S. Air Force C-17 taking off from Kabul’s International Airport on Aug. 16 and landed on the rooftop of his house in Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, Sept. 17, 2021.
AP
Hundreds of people run alongside a U.S. Air Force C-17 transport plane as it moves down a runway of the international airport, in Kabul.
Hundreds of people run alongside a U.S. Air Force C-17 transport plane as it moves down a runway of the international airport, in Kabul.
AP

Even how many were killed remains unknown. Videos show two dots falling from the airborne plane, several seconds apart. But two bodies landed on the same rooftop at the same time, suggesting they fell together, so the other figure seen falling in the videos could be at least one other person.

Also, the U.S. military has said it found human remains still in the wheel well of the C-17 when it landed in Qatar but did not specify how many people. At least one person, a young soccer player, died on the tarmac, crushed under the C-17’s wheels.

The U.S. military says it has not completed its investigation into the day. It said the C-17 was bringing in supplies for the evacuation effort at the airport but was mobbed by Afghans on the tarmac as it landed. Fearing the plane would be overwhelmed, the crew decided to take off again without unloading the cargo.

Videos taken by Afghans on the tarmac show hundreds running alongside it, and perhaps a dozen people sitting on top of the wheel well, though it is not known how many jumped off before the plane lifted off.

Ghulam Ghous, left, sits with his sons Ghulam Zikria, center, and Zakir Anwari, in their home in Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, Sept. 17, 2021.
Ghulam Ghous, left, sits with his sons Ghulam Zikria, center, and Zakir Anwari, in their home in Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, Sept. 17, 2021.
AP

One of those tucked into the wheel well was Fida Mohammad, a 24-year-old dentist.

He had once been full of hope, his family said. He had married last year in an extravagant ceremony that cost his family $13,000. His dream of opening a dental clinic in Kabul had become a reality.

Then the Taliban seized Kabul, and all the possibilities for his future seemed to disappear, his father Painda Mohammed told The Associated Press.

The older man still struggles to understand what his son was thinking when he climbed into the wheel well. He’s wracked with guilt, fearing that Fida took such an enormous risk because he wanted to help repay the large loan his father took out for the wedding.

Burying his head in his hands, Painda says he spends hours imagining his son’s final minutes, the fear he must have felt as the earth below him began to disappear and the wheels swung in, knowing he had no choice but to let go.

Stowaways allegedly falling from plane leaving Kabul after Taliban takeover.
Stowaways allegedly falling from plane leaving Kabul after Taliban takeover.
Asvaka News

On the ground, Abdullah Waiz was asleep in his home at the time and was awakened by a powerful noise. His first thought was an explosion. He rushed outside. His neighbors gestured toward his roof and told him of the bodies tumbling from the sky.

Two bodies hit in the same corner of his roof, Waiz said, pointing at the spot, where the concrete was still stained with blood. Waiz believes they were holding hands since they fell in the same location. He collected the remains on a cloth and carried it to a nearby mosque, he said.

“For 48 hours after that, I couldn’t sleep or eat,” he said.

They identified one body as Fida, as he had stuffed his father’s name and number in his pocket. Local media said the second body was identified as a young man named Safiullah Hotak.

Painda Mohammed, left, sits with family members at their house's yard near Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, Sept. 17, 2021.
Painda Mohammed, left, sits with family members at their house’s yard near Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, Sept. 17, 2021.
AP

For two weeks at the end of August as the United States and its allies wrapped up their presence in Afghanistan, tens of thousands of Afghans surged toward the Kabul airport, frantic to escape a Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. A 2-year-old child died in the stampede. An Islamic State group suicide bomber blew himself up in the middle of the crowd, killing 169 Afghans and 13 U.S. military personnel. Yet even after the explosion, thousands returned to the airport, hoping to make it inside.

The scenes were so traumatic that the U.S. Air Force offered psychological counseling to the air force personnel who worked at Kabul airport, as well as the crew of the ill-fated C-17 flight after it landed at Al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar.

Another victim on Aug. 16 was 17-year-old Zaki Anwari, a rising star on Afghanistan’s national soccer team. He would spend hours watching his hero Lionel Messi play. “He couldn’t get enough. It was all he talked about, all he did,” said his 20-year-old brother Zakir Anwari.

Zaki was too young to have known the Taliban’s harsh rule of the late 1990s. But as the militant force swept through the provinces, Zaki’s social media were flooded by rumors and horror stories purporting to tell of life under the Taliban.

Last time they ruled, the Taliban banned most sports, including soccer, and routinely rounded up young men at prayer times to force them to the mosque. Zaki was certain his dream of competing internationally on the Afghan team was over.

Mohammed Zakir closes the curtains of his family home, overlooking Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, Sept. 17, 2021.
Mohammed Zakir closes the curtains of his family home, overlooking Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, Sept. 17, 2021.
AP

Zaki went to the airport with an elder brother and a cousin on Aug. 16. He was meant to just watch the car while the cousin, who had worked for an American company, tried to get into the airport. Instead, while they were gone, he climbed over the airport boundary wall.

A breathless Zaki then called his other brother Zakir. He said he was inside the airport and was soon getting onto a plane. Zakir said he pleaded with his brother to not go, reminding him he didn’t have his passport or even his ID card with him and asking him, “What will you do in America?’”

But his younger brother hung up, then called his mother. “Pray for me. I am going to America,” Zaki said. She begged him, “Come home.”

Zaki was no longer listening. He raced alongside the aircraft as it picked up speed until suddenly he was knocked from the side and fell under the wheel and died, witnesses told the family later.

Painda Mohammad, the young dentist’s father, watches over and over videos on his phone showing his son dancing at his wedding.

Through his tears, he said, “He was a gift from God and now God has taken him back.”



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Military Plane Crashes Into North Texas Neighborhood as Crew Deploys Parachutes

Two naval pilots were seriously injured Sunday when their training plane crashed in a north Texas community.

The crash took place Sunday morning in Lake Worth, just a few miles north of Fort Worth.

Although three homes had to be evacuated due to damage from debris, no civilians on the ground were injured.

A statement from the Chief of Naval Air Training said the plane that went down was a Navy T-45C Goshawk jet trainer aircraft. The plane was assigned to Training Air Wing 2 at Naval Air Station Kingsville, Texas, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

“The two occupants ejected from the aircraft,” the Navy’s statement said. “The instructor pilot is in stable condition; the student naval aviator’s condition is unknown but he is alive and receiving treatment. Both were transported to medical facilities for evaluation.”

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The Star-Telegram reported one of the pilots in serious condition and one in critical condition.

“The pilots were conducting a routine training flight that originated from Corpus Christi International Airport,” the statement said. “The cause of the crash is unknown.”

Are you surprised no on one the ground was injured?

One of the pilots’ parachutes became tangled in power lines, Lake Worth Police Chief J.T. Manoushagian said, according to Click2Houston.com.

The other pilot made it to the ground and was found elsewhere in the neighborhood, he said.

“This incident could have been much worse knowing this plane went down in a residential area here in Lake Worth,” Lake Worth Fire Chief Ryan Arthur said.

Arthur noted that the community, approximately two miles north of Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, practices for possible plane crashes because of its proximity to the base.

Witness Kaitlyn Deramus said she saw the pilots eject and then saw the plane crash, according to KXAS-TV.

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“I knew there are old ladies in that house that it happened at and I was banging on their door but they wouldn’t come out because they thought it was just a car, so I grabbed them out,” Deramus said.

“The house behind that, I ran over to the next street and got that lady out of that house because she’s paralyzed and she needed to get out,” she said,

“I’m having anxiety, but all I wanted to do was save those old ladies because I’ve known them since I was really, really, little,” Deramus said. “They’re OK physically.”

Witness Cara Campbell said she saw one pilot hit the power lines.

“While driving, I heard a loud explosion and debris was hitting the car,” Campbell said.

Arthur said despite the damage and injuries, the crash could have been far worse.

“It’s very fortunate that it could have been a lot worse if it had been a direct contact into a residence,” Arthur said. “Fortunately, that’s not the case.”





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Injuries reported after military plane crashes into Texas homes

A military training aircraft crashed Sunday morning in Lake Worth, Texas, leaving two homes “heavily damaged” and injuring as many as three people, authorities said.

“FWFD PIO on scene of a military training crash in Lake Worth, TX,” the Fort Worth Fire Department tweeted from its official account. “2 homes heavily damaged, currently 2-3 patients being treated at this time.”

As many as six homes were impacted by the crash, Lake Worth police said on social media.

The area where the military plane crashed.
WFAA.com
According to the owner of one of the homes, Jamilah Foster, the collision knocked out her power.
According to the owner of one of the homes, Jamilah Foster, the collision knocked out her power.
WFAA.com
Jamilah Foster (right) said she was in the kitchen and her two children were in the living room when the plane hit them.
Jamilah Foster (right) said she was in the kitchen and her two children were in the living room when the plane hit them.
WFAA.com

Lake Worth is located northwest of Fort Worth, and west of its airport.

A photo of the scene posted on Twitter showed black smoke billowing up from what appeared to be a residential area.





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The SR-71 Super Spy Plane Is a Nightmare to Fly

Here’s What You Need to Remember: The Lockheed SR-71 is famously the fastest plane ever flown by the U.S. military.

The https://nationalinterest.org/tag/sr-71-blackbird“>Lockheed SR-71 is famously the fastest plane ever flown by the U.S. military and was never once shot down, although it did havehttps://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/sr-71-blackbird-fastest-plane-eve…“> a handful of close calls.

Last October The Aviationist https://theaviationist.com/2020/10/07/up-close-and-personal-with-the-bla…‘SR’%20was%20given,horizontal%20flight%20at%2085,069%20ft.”>spoke with USAF Lt. Col. Russell Szczepanik (Ret.), who commanded the Blackbird program for two years, about what it was like to fly the famed jet. He served, on most missions, as the reconnaissance systems operator.

“Nowadays, I find that it takes three or four or five year to get an airplane airborne, or even developed,” the retired officer, who now lives in Australia, told the publication. “The ‘SR’ was given two years maximum to be airborne and fully operational.”

Szczepanik also told the story about how aviation fuel once leaked out of the aircraft as it sat in preparation before a flight, due to heat expansion.

“It just poured out in various areas. And, the poor guys that are actually doing all the hard work underneath [the aircraft] are covered in the stuff- because the fuel is coming out,” he said. 


The officer also said in the interview that he remains sworn to secrecy about many aspects of his missions, even to this day.

“We weren’t telling anybody what we were doing and that, of course, upset the Air Force, and upset the Navy, upset the Army. But we weren’t permitted to tell anybody those things.” Szczepanik told the publication.

“The reality was, anybody who made it into the SR-71 program has to go get a new physical… And it had to be a special physical, in another place. And, I can’t really say where it went, but they actually took five days of giving us a space… space options. If you get through the physical in five days, you will be acceptable for the SR-71 program.”

He also said that the RSO, which he was, “does all the hard work quite frankly,” although he didn’t intend that as a slight to the actual pilots.

“[RSOs are] always having to watch where that airplane’s going, how fast it’s going, what altitude it’s at,” he said. “If we have somebody firing at us, which happened quite often. So, the guy in the back, he sees all that and has to make some very difficult decisions and tell the guy in the front the same thing. Hey, we’re in trouble. We gotta do this- now!”

https://www.businessinsider.com/what-it-was-like-to-fly-legendary-sr71-s…“>According to Insider, only 86 pilots and 86 RSOs flew the SR-71 over the course of its lifespan, which ran from the 1960s to the 1990s.

The Aviationist pointed out that insight provided by Szczepanik mirrored observations by https://nationalinterest.org/blog/reboot/how-america-gifted-russia-mach-…“>Russian pilots to whom they had spoken previously.

Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver. This article first appeared earlier this year.

Image: Wikimedia Commons



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Pope Francis Puts Biden in a Tough Spot with Single Comment Aboard the Papal Plane

If President Joe Biden is such a “devout Catholic,” as we’re so often told, why is Pope Francis directly contradicting him on a key aspect of his personal beliefs?

On Wednesday, the pope had to affirm something no one would even bother questioning past pontiffs about: namely, whether abortion is murder.

Spoiler alert: The answer is still yes.

The question was phrased in the context of whether communion should be denied to the president because of, as Reuters’ Philip Pullella put it, “his support for a woman’s right to choose even though he is personally against abortion.” (This phrasing is wildly disingenuous, but we’ll get to that in a bit.)

“I never denied communion to anyone. But I never knew that I had in front of me anyone such as you described, that is true,” the pope said when the question was posed on the papal plane, which was returning from Slovakia to Rome.

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“Communion is not a prize for the perfect … communion is a gift, the presence of Jesus and his church,” he added.

That part was in reference to the U.S. Conference of Bishops, which has debated whether pro-abortion Catholic politicians like Biden should be denied communion. In June, the conference moved forward on drafting rules that would clarify who could be denied the sacrament, which the church views as the literal body and blood of Christ.

However, the rest of the pull-quote from the pope’s answer will be uncomfortable for Biden and other high-profile “devout Catholic” Democrats, such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and California Rep. Ted Lieu.

“Abortion is murder. … Those who carry out abortions kill,” Francis said, according to Reuters.

Is Joe Biden a ‘devout Catholic’?

“At the third week after conception, often even before the mother is aware [of being pregnant], all the organs are already [starting to develop]. It is a human life. Period. And this human life has to be respected. It is very clear,” he said.

“Scientifically, it is a human life.”

The question was reported in the context of the Biden administration’s decision to formally ask a federal judge to block enforcement of Texas’ fetal heartbeat law on Tuesday.

Pullella’s assumption about Biden is the same that many others have about the president — he supports “a woman’s right to choose even though he is personally against abortion.”

However, even if one isn’t to take offense at the phraseology of calling abortion “a woman’s right to choose,” a bit of anodyne euphemism we’ve all come to accept that ushers us past the realities of the gruesome practice, this framing of the issue remains problematic.

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Earlier this month, the president said, “I respect them, those who believe life begins at the moment of conception and all, I respect that. Don’t agree, but I respect that.”

Here’s the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 2270-71: “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person — among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life. Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable.”

Our president, who has made much hay out of being a “devout Catholic,” doesn’t agree with one of the cornerstone teachings of his own church.

While taxpayer funding of abortion isn’t directly mentioned in the catechism — the official teachings of the church as delivered to either children or converts — it’s also worth noting it’s one issue upon which you’d be hard-pressed to find a Catholic prelate who was willing to give their blessing. Again, it’s something Biden now supports.

This isn’t about whether or not the president should be denied communion; the pope seems to weigh in on the side of “not,” although the devoutest Catholic of them all seemed deliberately vague on the subject.

“Abortion is murder,” however, isn’t quite so vague — and the church is crystal clear on when life begins, which is where Biden seems deliberately vague.

But then, the president could be said to have “evolved” on the subject — and just when it seemed to benefit him the most. After all, this was then-Vice President Joe Biden in 2015:

He’s also “evolved” on the issue of taxpayer-funded abortions. In 2019, Biden formally announced his opposition to the Hyde Amendment, the rule banning elective taxpayer-funded abortions administered with federal dollars.

He had been an ardent — dare I say “devout?” — supporter of the rule for decades. That changed as soon as it became clear Democrat orthodoxy was moving against him for upholding the principle that taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to pay for procedures they believe are murder.

Whether this is a case of the U.S. Conference of Bishops making communion “political” is still a matter of debate. Canon 915 of Roman Catholic Canon Law states those “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.” As Barbara Kralis pointed out in a 2004 piece for Catholic Online, this would seem to encompass Biden.

“If a Catholic is a ‘manifest‘ sinner, that means he is ‘known,’ or ‘public.’ This must be differentiated from the Catholics who are in the state of ‘private‘ grave sin, to whom their sin is known only to themselves and God,” she wrote. “The private grave sinner cannot be denied the Eucharist because their sin is unknown to the bishop, to his priests, and his ministers of the Eucharist.”

“If a Catholic is gravely ‘manifest’ and ‘obstinate’ in his sin, that means he pigheadedly continues to ‘persist’ or ‘stand firm’ in grave sin that is ‘public’ in nature and causes scandal to others. This is quite different from those who persist in ‘private’ sin.

“‘Catholic’ pro-abortion politicians are certainly manifest, obstinate and persistent sinners and they are thus subject to the provisions of [Canon 915].”

That said, the world’s most powerful Catholic prelate is being circumspect about denying communion to the world’s most powerful Catholic adherent, however nominal or devout you believe that adherence is. The pope only said he preferred bishops to deal with the problem pastorally, not politically.

“A pastor knows what to do at any moment but if he leaves the pastoral process of the Church he immediately becomes a politician,” Francis said.

However, the intentional inexactitude of the rest of the pontiff’s statements wasn’t repeated when he addressed abortion. That was crystal clear: It’s still murder and, one presumes, this doesn’t change no matter when you personally believe human life believes.

The church has been both consistent and persistent on that matter. It’s Joe Biden who’s changed.

Tags:

abortion, Biden administration, Catholic Church, Democrats, Joe Biden, murder, Nancy Pelosi, politics, Pope Francis, pro-life, sanctity of life, Texas

C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he’s written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.

C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he’s written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).

Birthplace

Morristown, New Jersey

Education

Catholic University of America

Languages Spoken

English, Spanish

Topics of Expertise

American Politics, World Politics, Culture





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Pakistan International Airlines plane lands in Kabul

Pakistan International Airlines on Monday ran the first international commercial flight to Afghanistan since the Taliban took over the country, officials said.

Flight PK6429, which was chartered by the World Bank, landed in Kabul and then returned to Islamabad. The Boeing 777 carried bank officials and journalists, airline spokesman Abdullah Khan told Reuters.

“It was a special chartered commercial flight,” Khan said. “We also accommodated other individuals who wanted to leave Afghanistan since we had space on the plane.”

PIA chief operating officer Arshad Malik said in a statement: “We hope that we will be able to resume a complete operation soon.”

About 70 people were aboard the flight to Pakistan, mostly Afghans who were relatives of employees with international organizations such as the World Bank, airport ground staff told Agence France-Presse.

A Taliban fighter stands guard as a Pakistan International Airlines plane takes flight.
KARIM SAHIB/AFP via Getty Images
People sit in a waiting room before boarding a Pakistan International Airlines plane.
People sit in a waiting room before boarding a Pakistan International Airlines plane.
KARIM SAHIB/AFP via Getty Images
Passengers walk through a lounge to board a Pakistan International Airlines flight.
Passengers walk through a lounge to board a Pakistan International Airlines flight.
AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images

“I am being evacuated. My final destination is Tajikistan. I will come back here only if the situation allows women to work and move freely,” a 35-year-old World Bank evacuee, who did not want to give her name, told AFP.

A 22-year-old man said he was taking a one-month trip to Pakistan.

“It’s like a vacation. I am sad and happy. Sad about the country, but happy to leave for some time,” the university student told the news outlet.

The plane is the first to touch down in Kabul since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in August.
The plane is the first to touch down in Kabul since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in August.
BULENT KILIC/AFP via Getty Images
Taliban fighters patrol Kabul's airport as Pakistan International Airways plane boards several refugees.
Taliban fighters patrol Kabul’s airport as a Pakistan International Airways plane boards several refugees.
BULENT KILIC/AFP via Getty Images

As passengers prepared to board, female airport personnel warily went about their duties.

“I don’t know if we will be killed or not for working here,” one of two women handling the security scanning machine told AFP.

Passengers onboard the Pakistan International plane were journalists and bank officials.
Passengers onboard the Pakistan International plane were journalists and bank officials.
AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images

The Taliban’s seizure of power has triggered a chaotic mass exodus as many Afghans fear a repeat of the brutal interpretation of Islamic law implemented during the militants’ previous rule — when girls were excluded from school, women were confined to their homes, and offenses were punishable by stoning or execution.

The Islamic militants have promised a milder form of rule this time, but have moved swiftly to crush dissent, including firing in the air to disperse recent protests by women calling for the right to education and work.

A PIA spokesman said it was too soon to say how frequently flights between the two countries would operate.

“This is a great moment for me after a long time since the change of the establishment in Kabul,” Jawad Zafar, head of operations at PIA, told AFP on Monday.

Last week, Qatar Airways operated several charter flights out of Kabul, carrying mostly foreigners and Afghans who missed out on the evacuation. An Afghan airline resumed domestic services on Sept. 3.



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Small plane makes emergency landing in Russia, 11 trapped

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MOSCOW — A small Russian passenger plane carrying 16 people carried out a hard landing in a forest of southeastern Siberia on Sunday, injuring several people and trapping others inside in an unknown condition, Russian news agencies reported.

Eleven people were caught in the L-410 aircraft, with five people injured outside, according to Interfax new agency.

According to preliminary reports, there was an equipment failure, which the crew reported before making the emergency landing, Interfax said, citing local emergency services. (Reporting by Maxim Rodionov and Tom Balmforth; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)



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When Bush’s Plane Landed at Barksdale Air Base on 9/11, Lone USAF Officer Pointed to Rows of Bombers and Told President’s Men 1 Thing

In the hectic hours that followed the Sep. 11, 2001, terror attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., the nation seemed to collectively realize two things: We were under attack, and America would most certainly be striking back.

Then-President George W. Bush was sitting in a Florida classroom with a group of schoolchildren when he received the news that the second plane had hit the World Trade Center in New York City.

Andy Card, Bush’s chief of staff, famously leaned over and whispered to the president as the children were absorbed in their books, “A second plane hit the second tower.”

The president and his team had learned of the first plane when they arrived at the school earlier that day and had been scrambling to find out more under the constraints of early-21st century communication.

“America is under attack,” Card quietly told the president.

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Bush’s team would spend the next several hours alone in the skies in Air Force One, unsure of what else to do with the commander-in-chief.

According to a 2016 report published in Politico — “We’re the Only Plane in the Sky” — which recorded an oral history of the movements taken by the president and those who traveled with him on that day, Bush and his team were torn between returning to Washington, D.C., to reassure the stunned nation and keeping the commander-in-chief of the armed services safe as it remained unclear if further attacks would come.

Air Force One ultimately landed at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, which had already been in the middle of an annual nuclear surety exercise when its commanders became aware of the attacks.

The base was on high alert by the time the men on the ground were informed that Air Force One was approaching — and the president’s handlers remember that once they hit the ground, everything changed, and the reality of the events of that day sank in.

Do you believe our nation has lost its fighting spirit?

“I remember just how different it was, landing at Barksdale. Everything just had changed in an instant. We’d got off the plane and we were at war,” Capt. Cindy Wright, the presidential nurse, recalled.

The president’s team was scrambling to get oriented, but the members of the armed forces were already ready, locked and loaded to defend our country.

“As soon as we landed, Mark Rosenker [director of the White House Military Office] and I went off the back stairs. There’s this guy who looks like General Buck Turgidson from Dr. Strangelove, big guy, all decked out in a bomber jacket,” Brian Montgomery, the White House director of advance, remembered.

“He was straight out of central casting. We said, ‘What do you need?’ He said, ‘See those planes? Every one is loaded with nukes — tell me where you want ’em.’ We look over and there are just rows of B-52s, wingtip to wingtip. I joked, ‘Gosh, don’t tell [the president!].’”

It was from Barksdale, surrounded by no doubt equally adamant airmen, that the president, just eight months into his first term, would address the nation on the deadliest attack to ever take place on American soil.

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“Freedom itself was attacked this morning by a faceless coward,” Bush said in his speech that afternoon. “And freedom will be defended.”

“Make no mistake,” he declared. “The United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these cowardly acts.”

It was clear from Montgomery’s interaction with the determined airman that the armed forces were most certainly on Bush’s side at the time.

It is certainly a blessing our response didn’t come to a nuclear offensive, despite the level of eager preparedness — and the military action taken by our country over the next two decades will not likely be remembered in history in an entirely positive light, to say the least.

Yet what we remember this weekend is the indignant, proud, fighting spirit of the American people who were determined not to let our enemies get away with what they’d just done.

As our own nation has marked the two-decade anniversary of the attacks just after one of its most shameful military events in history, it is all the more infuriating to think that this fighting spirit has become almost taboo — believing in the exceptionalism and military might of our nation is often seen as being akin to domestic terrorism.

It pains me to say, in many ways, our enemy has won. Or at least, they’ve managed to carry off a series of devastating attacks on our sense of national pride and dignity. We are just as strong — yet we have lost this fighting spirit.

As we remember 9/11 twenty years later, let’s honor the memory of those lost that day as well as the two decades that followed by committing to reviving this spirit.

Our nation is under attack in a new way now — and we’ve got to be all the more ready to defend it, lest we lose our strength and fighting spirit for good.



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