Satellite photos show final US evacuation efforts from Kabul airport in Afghanistan

As the U.S. military winds down its airlift American citizens and Afghan refugees from Kabul in the wake of the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, satellites have captured stark views of the effort from space.

Images from satellites operated by Maxar Technologies shows scenes of the Hamid Karzai International Airport from Friday (Aug. 27) as the U.S. nears an Aug. 31 deadline to complete its evacuation efforts. The were taken one day after a deadly suicide bombing killed as many as 170 civilians and 13 members of the U.S. military at the airport’s Abbey Gate. Some black-and-white views were captured by Maxar’s WorldView-1 satellite.

Video: Satellite views of US military’s Kabul evacuation
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Image 1 of 7

On Aug. 27, 2021, the WorldView-1 satellite captured these views of U.S. evacuation efforts from Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul just days ahead of an Aug. 31 deadline to complete the operation in the wake of the Taliban takeover of the country.

This view from a Maxar satellite shows the northeast gate of the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, where crowds of people are visible during U.S. evacuation efforts. (Image credit: Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies)Image 2 of 7

On Aug. 27, 2021, the WorldView-1 satellite captured these views of U.S. evacuation efforts from Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul just days ahead of an Aug. 31 deadline to complete the operation in the wake of the Taliban takeover of the country.

U.S. C-17 aircraft are seen on the tarmac awaiting crowds of evacuees, visible at center right, as they prepare to leave Afghanistan’s Hamad Karzai International Airport in Kabul on Aug. 27, 2021 in this view by a Maxar satellite. (Image credit: Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies)Image 3 of 7

On Aug. 27, 2021, the WorldView-1 satellite captured these views of U.S. evacuation efforts from Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul just days ahead of an Aug. 31 deadline to complete the operation in the wake of the Taliban takeover of the country.

A view of the Abbey Gate of the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan as it appeared from orbit on Aug. 27, 2021 to the WorldView-1 satellite. (Image credit: Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies)Image 4 of 7

On Aug. 27, 2021, the WorldView-1 satellite captured these views of U.S. evacuation efforts from Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul just days ahead of an Aug. 31 deadline to complete the operation in the wake of the Taliban takeover of the country.

A color view of the Abbey Gate at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan as seen by a Maxar satellite on Aug. 27, 2021, one day after devastating bombing that killed as many as 170 civilians and 13 members of the U.S. military. (Image credit: Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies)Image 5 of 7

On Aug. 27, 2021, the WorldView-1 satellite captured these views of U.S. evacuation efforts from Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul just days ahead of an Aug. 31 deadline to complete the operation in the wake of the Taliban takeover of the country.

A black-and-white view of the main entrance of the Hamid Karzai International Airport on Aug. 27, 2021 from the WorldView-1 satellite. (Image credit: Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies)Image 6 of 7

On Aug. 27, 2021, the WorldView-1 satellite captured these views of U.S. evacuation efforts from Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul just days ahead of an Aug. 31 deadline to complete the operation in the wake of the Taliban takeover of the country.

This color image from a Maxar satellite shows a different angle of the main entrance at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. At right, a field packed with people hoping to secure a seat on evacuation flights can be seen. (Image credit: Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies)Image 7 of 7

On Aug. 27, 2021, the WorldView-1 satellite captured these views of U.S. evacuation efforts from Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul just days ahead of an Aug. 31 deadline to complete the operation in the wake of the Taliban takeover of the country.

An overview of the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan as seen from orbit by a Maxar Technologies satellite. (Image credit: Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies)

“People can be seen on the tarmac preparing to load on a C-17 transport aircraft, crowds remain at the northwestern gate to the airport while other entrance gates have far fewer people present than in previous days,” Maxar representatives wrote in a description of the images.

Maxar captured seven images of the Kabul evacuation by the U.S. military during two passes over Afghanistan on Friday, one at 10:15 a.m. local time by a satellite capable of color imagery and another pass at 1:50 p.m. local time by the WorldView-1 satellite, which took the black-and-white imagery. 

Related: Crowds surge on Afghanistan airport in satellite photos

The satellite observations comes as the U.S. nears the Aug. 31deadline set by the Biden administration to evacuate thousands of Americans and Afghan allies who aided U.S. forces during the 20-year war that began in the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

As of Sunday morning, the U.S. has airlifted more than 117,000 people from Kabul since the evacuation effort began this month after the Taliban’s swift takeover of the Afghanistan, according to the New York Times.

Email Tariq Malik at tmalik@space.com or follow him @tariqjmalik. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Instagram. 

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