Afghanistan: Women plead 'put my name on escape list' at empty embassies amid Taliban takeover

Some Afghan women approached our correspondent in a desperate attempt for help to escape the country, as John Irvine reports

Desperate Afghan women have been waiting outside empty embassies in Kabul in the futile hope of escaping the Taliban’s rule.

ITV News witnessed a young mother with her two children at the gates of the US Embassy, in the capital’s former Green Zone, despite it being abandoned by Sunday night.

She had been told to go there to get their names on a list and had been encouraged by the sight of two metal detectors on the other side of the gate.

Our news crew had to persuade them to go elsewhere.

This mother and her two children were waiting outside the empty US Embassy.

But the family weren’t alone – a false rumour claiming the French Embassy is still open spread and led to crowds of women and children waiting with their documents and passports.

“It’s too insecure,” said one woman, before she and another attempted to hand ITV News Senior International Correspondent John Irvine their passports in a desperate bid to leave the country, telling him: “Please, please take our names and put them on the list.”

Another woman said she worked for the Afghan government and wants to leave as soon possible.

It is believed the crowd - made up almost exclusively of women - are the wives of men who worked for the government or for foreign forces and are too fearful of being spotted there themselves.

Afghan women hand ITV News Correspondent John Irvine their documents in the hope he can help them

On Tuesday, ITV News filmed on the road to the airport - the destination many see as their only chance to make it to freedom.

As ITV News filmed, the Taliban fired warning gunshots in a bid to disperse crowds.

A Taliban commander, who allowed our crew to briefly film the chaotic scenes said he is open to contact with the Americans and the British.

Anyone approved for safe passage out of the country by the Americans or the British, he claimed, will be allowed into the airport.

But there was nothing but empty buildings in what used to be the seat of power – home to armies, foreign embassies and the presidential palace – in Kabul, making it all but impossible for Afghans to get the correct paperwork for them to make it out of the country.

The Taliban is now in control of what was the Green Zone.

With many Afghans desperate to leave the country, exiled Taliban leaders are flying back in.

Co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar has arrived back to triumphant scenes and is now expected to play a key role in negotiations between the Taliban and officials from the Afghan government.

But many in the country are not willing to wait on the outcome of those talks.