A Norwegian woman rescued from Afghanistan on an almost empty “mercy” plane has revealed her heartbreak at leaving behind thousands of desperate locals — including a mom who begged her to take her baby.
Kaisa Markhus, 30, told the Daily Mail that it took her four days to get through Taliban checkpoints and a scrum of thousands outside Kabul airport before she was finally able to board a military jet, landing in her native Oslo Friday morning.
“There are thousands trying to get into the airport … a lot of scared people who just want a way out,” said Markhus, who was left with “lonely sadness” when she left on a nearly empty plane.
“One woman tried to hand me her baby and said, ‘Please, please take my child,’” said Markhus, the wife of a former British Royal Marine commando.
“But I couldn’t, no matter how much I wanted to help. It just doesn’t work like that.
“She must have been desperate to do that,” she said, recalling also witnessing similar frantic moves by other women.
“There were crying children, who had become separated from their parents and at least three babies who must have been handed over to soldiers by their desperate mothers,” she told the Mail.
Markhus and her husband — ex-British soldier Paul “Pen” Farthing — were in Afghan running the Nowzad sanctuary for stray animals, which is backed by stars like Ricky Gervais and Dame Judi Dench.
She eventually escaped with a pregnant American friend — who was not identified — while her husband stayed behind, vowing not to leave until all 25 of his staff and their immediate families were given safe passage out of the troubled nation, the outlet said.
While there, Farthing has been campaigning for UK politicians to intervene in what he insists is a “humanitarian disaster.”
Markhus said she and her friend were nearly trampled to death on Tuesday as thousands stormed the airport, with soldiers firing warning shots in the air. They also had to dodge Taliban troops outside, staying in a safe house each night before returning again each day to try to flee.
When she finally managed her way in Thursday, she was taken to a military plane — and sat for hours waiting for more passengers, who never came because of the chaos outside, she told the outlet.
“We waited on the tarmac for hours for people to get through. But eventually we had to take off,” she said.
“I just had a feeling of sadness because the flight was so empty,” she said, with her plane arriving in the early hours in Georgia, where she caught a connecting commercial flight on to Oslo.
She said families are sleeping outside Kabul airport, seemingly unaware that without the correct paperwork they are forbidden from leaving.
“It’s not getting any better, only worse as people get more desperate,” she said.