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Afghanistan: 350 British And Afghan Nationals Set To Be Evacuated In Next 24 Hours

by : Poppy Bilderbeck on : 17 Aug 2021 15:35
Afghanistan: 350 British And Afghan Nationals Set To Be Evacuated In Next 24 HoursPA Images/@BritishSoldier/Twitter

350 British and Afghan nationals are set to be evacuated from Kabul in the next 24 hours. 

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab made the comments after telling Sky News the situation at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai airport is ‘stabilising’.

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Raab, alongside Prime Minister Boris Johnson, has previously been criticised for going on holiday despite warnings Kabul was about to fall.

Kabul was the last of Afghanistan’s major cities to be seized by the Taliban, who took control of the capital on Sunday, August 15, resulting in absolute chaos within the city. The past few days have seen citizens flocking to Kabul’s airport to try and force their way onboard evacuation flights. It has also been reported that at least seven people have died in the commotion.

The UN has gone on to warn of targeted killings, looting and human rights abuses taking place in the city since the Taliban took over. It has even been reported the Taliban have been targeting women by marking the doors of prominent female Afghan figures, such as journalists, activists and bloggers.

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While the chaos was ensuing, Raab and Johnson were reportedly on their summer holidays. Raab was spotted on holiday in Cyprus, while Johnson left on Saturday for Somerset.

Both MPs returned, with Raab having been seen entering the Foreign Office and Johnson holding his second COBRA meeting on Sunday afternoon.

Boris Johnson (PA Images)PA Images

Raab told Sky News he’d been ‘caught off guard by the pace, scale of the Taliban takeover’. In retrospect, the politician admitted if he’d seen the Taliban’s takeover coming, that ‘of course we would have taken action’. He went on to note that despite being away on holiday, he was still ‘able to respond to events’.

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‘There’s been a surge of US and UK troops – we’ve got 600 extra personnel there’, he said, deeming the move to be ‘critically important’ for not only the evacuation effort but also for ‘stability on the ground for Afghans’.

He commented:

We’ve made real progress. We had 150 British nationals come out on Sunday. Over the last week we have also had 289 of those Afghan nationals who have served the UK so loyally in Afghanistan.

And we expect over the next 24 hours to have 350 more British nationals and Afghan nationals who have worked for us coming out.

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Now that the Taliban are in power in Afghanistan, Raab said the UK government must ‘deal with the reality’ and be ‘pragmatic’ about the situation.

Raab confirmed UK troops are ‘clearly withdrawing’ from Afghanistan as a result. However, he warned the incidents which have occurred in Kabul could have a ‘ricochet effect’ in the UK.

Stephen Kinnock, Labour shadow Foreign Office minister, has suggested the UK will need to support tens of thousands of refugees from Afghanistan and if the government does not ‘do everything that we can’ to protect Afghans who helped British forces, it would be a ‘dereliction of duty’.

A spokesperson for Downing Street stated that the Prime Minister has ‘outlined his intention to convene G7 leaders for a virtual meeting’ to discuss the situation in Afghanistan. It was confirmed by Downing Street that on Tuesday morning, the PM spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel about the events which have unfolded over the last few days.

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Topics: News, Afghanistan, Boris Johnson, dominic raab, Kabul

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Sky News
  1. Sky News

    Situation at Kabul airport 'stabilising', Raab says, as crowds try to flee Afghanistan