Afghanistan: UK Shuts Kabul Airport Gates, Airlift To End ‘In Hours’
UK forces have closed the gates at Kabul’s airport, with airlifts to end in a matter of hours, according to the defence secretary.
It comes after horrific scenes yesterday, August 26, when two suicide bombers and gunmen targeted crowds and troops at the airport. At least 70 Afghans lost their lives in the ISIS-K terror attacks, as well as 13 US troops, marking America’s deadliest day in Afghanistan since 2011.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace was previously candid on the UK’s participation in evacuation efforts, saying it was unlikely they’d extend beyond the President Joe Biden’s August 31 deadline for withdrawing forces. Now, it’s quite literally down to hours amid concerns over further attacks.
‘Our top priority as we move through this process will be the protection of all those involved who are operating in a heightened threat environment,’ Wallace said, as per The Sun.
‘It is with deep regret that not everyone has been able to be evacuated during this process. But I am proud of this remarkable achievement from our Border Force, Armed Forces, MOD, FCDO, Home Office who have evacuated over 13,000 people in 14 days during Operation Pitting.
‘We will continue to honour our debt to all those who have not yet been able to leave Afghanistan. We will do all that we can to ensure they reach safety.’
Efforts will now be concentrated on the remaining Brits and Afghans who have already been processed and are waiting to leave inside the airport, whereas the majority those who haven’t been able to make it in will be left in Afghanistan under the Taliban’s rule. Wallace said a small amount of people from the crowds waiting outside would also be evacuated.
Following an emergency meeting, Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged that efforts would ‘flat out’ continue until the ‘last moment’. A total of 13,146 people have been flown out by the UK so far, according to the Ministry of Defence.
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