Kabul airport was overrun on Wednesday by men who falsely believed they could flee the Taliban on a flight to earthquake-struck Turkey.
The stampede was reminiscent of the chaotic scenes at the airport in 2021 when US troops withdrew from Afghanistan.
Thousands gathered at the airport believing the Taliban was flying aid to Turkey and that volunteers could board the aircraft without papers.
A rumour circulated on social media that people willing to clear earthquake debris could leave the country after the Taliban announced it would donate €154,000 to the Turkey and Syria relief fund.
Afghans were filmed running to the airport where they were met by security guards who opened fire, triggering a stampede in which several people were injured.
Abdul Shakor, a young Afghan, said: “I rushed to the airport after my friends told me an aircraft is taking volunteers to Turkey.
“I saw chaos all around and suddenly someone fired gunshots, triggering a stampede outside the airport.”
Mr Shakor added: “Imagine the level of desperation that we want to live in conflict-ridden Syria, not Afghanistan.”
Weeks before the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan on August 15, 2021, Mr Shakor’s older brother Kafeel Rehman left Kabul for New Delhi where he wanted to go before seeking asylum in Europe.
In the same month, Afghan civilians chased and clung to a US plane at Kabul airport in a desperate attempt to escape the country. Two people fell from the aircraft wing and died during the chaos.
Zabihullah Mujahid, a government spokesman, said on Wednesday: “Some people have spread rumours that people are being sent to Turkey through Kabul airport, or that Turkish planes have arrived and are transporting undocumented people to that country.
“These rumours are not true, no one should go to Kabul airport with this intention.
“Do not disturb the process and public order.”
Amir Khan Muttaqi, the Taliban’s acting foreign minister, spoke to his Turkish counterpart after the earthquake, offering to send rescue and medical teams to the country.
The Taliban announced the aid despite facing financial sanctions for banning girls from schools and female foreign aid workers.
Around 100 Afghan citizens were killed or wounded in the earthquake in Turkey on Monday, according to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
Telegraph Media Group Limited