The aircraft can only carry 134 passengers.
US officials confirmed that human remains were found inside a wheel of the C-17 military plane heading from Afghanistan to Qatar upon landing at Al Udeid Air Base, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday, citing three people familiar with the matter.
According to the report, the aircraft’s crew found the bodies after carrying out an emergency landing due to a landing gear glitch.
It was not immediately clear whether the plane was the same aircraft shown in videos that went viral over the past 24 hours, in which Afghans were seen attempting climb onto the wings of the plane to flee the country.
The number of bodies found and the cause of death remains unclear.
An image showing hundreds of Afghans who worked with US forces fleeing the Taliban on a cramped US Airforce C-17 aircraft headed for Qatar’s Al-Udeid Air Base went viral on Tuesday.
Obtained from the US military, the picture showed roughly 640 people on board. According to Boeing, a C-17’s passenger can only carry 134 people, which means that the aircraft carried almost five times more than its intended capacity.
“The unusually high number of passengers was the result of a dynamic security environment that necessitated quick decision making by the crew which ultimately ensured these passengers were quickly taken outside the country,” a US official told Reuters.
The striking image followed horrifying scenes of panic at Kabul’s international airport, where some were seen hanging onto the side of the aircraft, desperate to leave Afghanistan.
Shocking footage also showed Afghans falling from the sky after latching on to the outside of planes in a last ditch attempt to flee the country.
Qatar was the only Gulf state that called for a “safe and orderly” departure for Afghans and foreign nationals.
Earlier today, the Taliban announced an amnesty and general pardon to all those in Afghanistan and urged women to join the new government.
“The Islamic Emirate don’t want women to be victims,” a senior member of the group said.
State of panic
The Taliban entered the Afghan presidential palace on Sunday after taking control of all provincial capitals over the past week, declaring complete control over Afghanistan with the fall of Kabul.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled to Tajikistan hours after reported negotiations with the Taliban at the palace to ensure a peaceful transition of power.
Shortly after the Taliban captured the palace, the US rushed to evacuate its personnel from the Hamid Karzai Airport. As a result, Afghans were not allowed to enter the airport, prompting crowds to break through.
Footage that emerged online showed Afghans scurry to board planes as US troops fired gunshots in the air to repel the crowds. Several people were killed on the scene.
According to the UN, the number of internally displaced people [IDP] in Afghanistan between 1 July and 15 August 2021 in Kabul alone reached 17,600, with the number of people requiring humanitarian assistance expected to rise.