US military plane rescues 640 Afghans escaping Taliban

A giant US military transport plane evacuated 640 Afghans fleeing the Taliban from Kabul airport, a near record for the most ever people flown in the aircraft.

The relieved Afghans crammed into a US Air Force Boeing C-17 Globemaster III on Sunday in what is believed to be the most people flown in the aircraft, US security site, Defense One reports.

The transport jet is capable of carrying 77,564kg of cargo but is only designed for 134 soldiers.

READ MORE: Seven killed in Kabul airport evacuation chaos, US officials say

But the crew of the plane, attached to the 436th Airlift Wing, was moved by the number of Afghans onboard and made the decision to leave with a full load of human cargo rather than eject people off the flight on Sunday.

Images show hundreds of the desperate Afghans crammed inside the Globemaster.

Initially the crew believed they had about 800 people on board the evacuation flight to a US Air Force base in Qatar.

The 640 passengers are believed to be among the most people ever flown in a C-17.

"Instead of trying to force those refugees off the aircraft, the crew made the decision to go. Approximately 640 Afghan civilians disembarked the aircraft when it arrived at its destination," Defense One reported.

In 2013, a C-17 aircraft evacuated 670 people fleeing a typhoon in the Philippines.

That and Sunday's flight from Kabul were made possible by crew using a process called 'floor loading', where passengers hang onto cargo straps run from wall to wall serving as emergency seatbelts.

READ MORE: ADF troops sent to Afghanistan to evacuate hundreds of citizens

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III (Getty)

The flight from Kabul airport took place amid scenes of mass panic as thousands of Afghans fled the Taliban.

Some were so desperate that they held onto the sides of planes as they took off, with several falling to their deaths.

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