Nearly five million people who call Kabul home were well used to helicopters buzzing overhead, but never like this. For hours yesterday, the thunderous sound of Chinooks ferrying foreign workers from embassy compounds to the airport on the outskirts of the city served as evidence of a panic threatening to overwhelm the capital.
Those who did take to the streets were queueing at ATMs for cash that many feared would soon be unavailable. They also queued patiently at phone shops to buy sim cards for different networks as they anticipated communication channels being cut by the Taliban. The exodus was well under way and those who had not already fled were making preparations to do so.
Travel to the airport by road was almost impossible