150 Brits and 289 Afghans evacuated from Afghanistan - Foreign Secretary

17 August 2021, 08:33

By Daisy Stephens

A total of 150 British nationals have been evacuated from Afghanistan so far, as well as 289 Afghans, according to the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.

Speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari, Mr Raab said that more evacuations were expected in the coming days as the airport "stabilises".

"Since Sunday we’ve evacuated 150 British nationals, that includes dual nationals, and over the last week 289 Afghans who have served the UK so admirably over the recent years," said Mr Raab.

"What we’re now looking to do with the stabilisation of the airport, with the 600 UK extra personnel, the thousands that the Americans are supplying, the stability that is starting to be restored there at the airport, is get more flights in."

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He went on: "The original plan was an extra 350 going out over the next 24 hours, I suspect that will be ramped up as the security situation improves, and obviously once the airport is secure we can really start to increase those numbers which is what we all want to see."

Hundreds of civilians have attempted to flee Afghanistan after the Government collapsed and the Taliban seized control.

Videos on social media showed desperate scenes at Kabul Airport, with people seen clinging to the landing gear of planes.

Some are thought to have fallen soon after take-off, and others were killed in the chaos at the airport itself.

A viral photo also shows a US military plane, with a capacity of just 100, carrying around 640 Afghans out of the country and to Qatar in an "unplanned" rescue flight.

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The footage has resulted in UK charities putting pressure on Boris Johnson to do more to help Afghan civilians desperate to escape a draconian Taliban regime last seen in the country in 2001.

Mr Johnson announced a resettlement scheme for Afghans "most in need", such as women and children who are most vulnerable to harsh Taliban regulations, but Amnesty International UK branded the scheme "grossly flawed and utterly inadequate".

"The UK Government must urgently expand and recast its grossly flawed and utterly inadequate relocation scheme to ensure many more people can get to a place of safety before it's too late," said chief executive Sacha Deshmukh.

"Thousands of Afghans at serious risk of Taliban reprisals - from academics and journalists to activists and women human rights defenders - and are in danger of being abandoned to a deeply uncertain future.

"The chaos unfolding in Kabul means there are a matter of hours, not days, in which the UK could potentially save lives."