The person, who did not want to be identified for fear of reprisal by the Taliban who have wrested control of Afghanistan, said he was in a queue near the airport’s Abbey Gate for nearly 10 hours, when an explosion went off at 5pm on Thursday.
“It was as if someone pulled the ground from under my feet; for a moment I thought my eardrums were blasted and I lost my sense of hearing,” the man, who was an employee of an international development group, was quoted as saying by news agency Reuters.
The man, who like thousands surrounding him, was attempting to flee the country and escape Taliban rule with the help of a US special immigrant visa that he carried with him.
Even though Kabul’s citizens are not strangers to deadly suicide attacks in crowded areas, the explosions at the airport have exposed the constant trauma they have endured for so many years, something that has only been exacerbated by the ongoing crisis in the country.
While citizens have become used to security teams sealing off blast sites and carrying away the dead and wounded, this time, survivors scrambled over bloodstained corpses, many of which were flung into a sewage ditch as a result of the blast.
“Today there was no one to handle the issue and move the bodies and the wounded to hospital or take them out of sight of the public,” the survivor told Reuters.
“Dead bodies and wounded were lying in the road and in the sewage canal. The little water flowing into it had turned into blood.”
The man said he saw “bodies and body parts flying in the air like a tornado taking plastic bags”. There were bodies of the elderly, the wounded and men, women and children lying at the blast site, according to him.
“It is not possible to see doomsday in this life, but today I saw doomsday, I witnessed it with my own eyes,” he said.
People were being taken away on handheld wheelbarrows after the blast, in the absence of any ambulance or medical assistance.
The witness said water flowing into a sewage canal near the airport turned red because of the blood.
“Physically, I am OK... but I don’t think the mental wound and the shock I sustained from today’s blast will ever let me live a normal life.”