On Monday, the Taliban regained control of Kabul (Afghanistan’s capital) after 20 years of war, and the images and videos that have come out of the ensuing humanitarian crisis are heart-breaking.

The Taliban are religious fundamentalists who controlled Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001, ruling with an iron fist and imposing an ultra-strict interpretation of Islam where they banned women from from schooling or work, forced them to wear burqa’s, publicly executed adulterers and mutilated thieves.

Media like television and music was also banned, and while the Taliban is claiming their new rule will be less strict, it’s no surprise that civilians are making every attempt to flee the country.

ABC News reported footage of hundreds of abandoned cars clogging the streets of Kabul as their owners made last-ditch attempts to escape.

Social media has been flooded with images and videos of Afghans desperately attempting to flee by chasing planes on the tarmac, clinging to the sides and attempting to climb their way onto the crafts.

One flight crew made the heroic decision to save 640 Afghans from the new regime, cramming them all onto a single fight in a strikingly emotional image. This is history in action.

Other images and videos are more distressing, with the desperation of terrified Afghans palpable. In the Image below, a young girl can be seen being dragged over a wall in an attempt to flee to the airport.

Afghanistan in pictures
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN-AUGUST 16: Thousands of Afghans rush to the Hamid Karzai International Airport as they try to flee the Afghan capital of Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 16, 2021. (Image: Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

“Every 15 minutes, a US plane flies and a second lands,” The New York Times reported one witness as saying.

“There is chaos while people are entering the plane.”

afghans flee
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN-AUGUST 16: Thousands of Afghans rush to the Hamid Karzai International Airport as they try to flee the Afghan capital of Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 16, 2021. (Image: Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The images and videos coming out of Kabul are devastating and it’s easy to feel helpless. If you want to read about ways you can help Afghans during this unfolding humanitarian crisis, you can check out our non-exhaustive list here.