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buy apple developer account(buyappleacc.com):More than 600 fleeing Afghans cram into dramatic US military flight

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KABUL — A photo shows more than 600 Afghans — women, men, children and the elderly — sitting packed on the floor of a cavernous US military plane, part of a dramatic airlift hours after Kabul fell to the Taliban.

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The now-viral image, obtained and posted by the respected military news site Defense One, was taken inside a US Air Force C-17 transport.

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The Afghans crammed in the giant cargo hold on the Sunday night flight were among those approved for evacuation by US authorities, according to the site.

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The US military said about 640 Afghans were on board.

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But such a large number on one flight was not planned, a US official told Defense One — many climbed onto the half-open ramp at the back of the plane in desperation.

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"The crew made the decision to go" rather than force them out, the official said.

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It came as Taliban fighters flooded the streets of Kabul, with panicked citizens rushing to the airport to try and find a flight out of Afghanistan.

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"The unusually high number of passengers aboard this aircraft... was the result of a dynamic security environment that necessitated quick decision making by the crew," US Central Command spokesperson Karen Roxberry said in a statement.

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It "ultimately ensured that these passengers were safely taken outside the country".

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Among the people visible in the photo is a small child holding a feeding bottle in the lap of a woman. Several other people are seen holding small children.

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Hardly any belongings are visible among the passengers, except a small suitcase and a backpack in the foreground.

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The flight — which Defense One said had the call sign Reach 871 — landed in Qatar in the early hours of Monday, according to the tracking website FlightAware.

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The US military did not specify the destination.

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This C-17 was not the only one to take so many Afghans out of the country — Defense One cited the US official as saying several planes took off from Kabul with similar numbers.

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It is also not the first time Boeing C-17s — workhorses of the US Air Force transport fleet — have been used for such a large evacuation.

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In 2013, a US C-17 flew out more than 670 people from the eastern Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan.

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In its usual configuration, a C-17 carries just over 100 troops with equipment.

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CHAOS, DESPERATION

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There have been desperate and chaotic scenes at Kabul airport, where the apron and runway were flooded Monday by thousands of people hoping to get a flight out of the country.

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Many were not eligible for evacuation flights, did not have tickets on commercial flights or even visas.

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In harrowing videos shared on social media, hundreds of people are seen running next to a C-17 as it appears to gather speed, some clinging to the sides of the plane.

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In another, attack helicopters are seen flying low near the crowds in an apparent attempt to clear the runway for an aircraft.

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