UK’s Kabul evacuation ends today, says military
The UK’s evacuation of civilians from Afghanistan will end on Saturday, Chief of the Defence Staff Gen Sir Nick Carter has said.
He told Radio 4’s Today programme it was “heartbreaking” that they had not been able to bring everybody out.
A mass airlift has been under way at Kabul airport since Taliban militants overran the capital this month.
On Friday, the Ministry of Defence said the UK had evacuated 14,543 people from Kabul since 13 August.
Sir Nick, the head of the UK armed forces, said there were still some civilian evacuation flights coming from Kabul to the UK, but “very few now”.
“We’re reaching the end of the evacuation, which will take place during the course of today, and then of course it’ll be necessary to bring our troops out on the remaining aircraft.
“It’s gone as well as it could do in the circumstances… but we haven’t been able to bring everybody out and that has been heartbreaking and there have been some very challenging judgements that have had to be made on the ground.”
He said the number of Afghans who were eligible to come to the UK but remained in the Afghanistan was in the “high hundreds”, suggesting some would not have wanted to take the risk of travelling to the airport – or been unable to.
As of Friday, the government said between 800 and 1,100 eligible Afghans and 100 to 150 Britons had not been evacuated.
This includes British nationals as well as almost 8,000 Afghans eligible under the UK’s relocation scheme for those who worked for the UK government and other vulnerable individuals.
A 31 August deadline is in place for foreign troops to leave the country.
The US has been running the airport in Afghanistan’s capital, where a suicide bomb attack on Thursday may have killed as many as 170 people – including