A war-ravaged economy, minimal human rights, and poverty have left Afghans desperate, with thousands wanting to flee the country. Hundreds of citizens, including women and children, rushed to Kabul airport after hearing that aid flights to Turkey would depart on Wednesday to assist earthquake victims.

Several videos from the incident emerged on social media, showing people running towards the airport in the dark.

Local journalist Saeedullah Safi also posted a video of the crowds gathering at Kabul airport after hearing rumours that the Turkish embassy is planning to "fly out Afghan citizens to help with relief work."

Turkey and Syria were hit by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake this week. More than 20,000 people are now known to have been killed in the devastating earthquake.

"I heard that Turkey is taking out people, so I thought I can go and help people in need," ANC News quoted a Kabul resident Abdul Ghafar as saying. "Also this can be an opportunity for me to find a way out of the country," he added.

But all of them had to return after Taliban officials made it clear that there were no such flights to Turkey.

Khalid Zadran, a spokesperson for the Kabul police chief, said that the situation had returned to normal by Thursday morning. He also urged people not to disrupt public order with "baseless lies."

"Some people have spread rumours that undocumented people are being sent to Turkey from Kabul airport, or Turkish planes have arrived and undocumented people are being brought back to that country," he wrote in a Twitter post.

Leaving the country is not an easy option for Afghans, as the global community has not yet recognised the Taliban regime. They have been forced to live in extreme poverty and have almost no human rights.

Almost 24 million people in the country face acute hunger, while 8.7 million face famine. A United Nations report has said that soon 97% of Afghan citizens will be living below the poverty line; millions of them are already living in camps for the displaced, wrote Aljazeera.

The previous Afghanistan government was heavily dependent on foreign aid. After the Taliban's takeover of the country, the global community cut off aid to Afghanistan, making things difficult not only for the regime but for ordinary citizens as well.

The international community is facing a tough balancing act trying to get urgently needed aid to Afghans without endorsing Taliban rule Photo: AFP / KARIM JAAFAR