Afghanistan: First embassy staff and UK nationals arrive back from Kabul

16 August 2021, 10:06

The first Brits have made their way back to the UK
The first Brits have made their way back to the UK. Picture: Ministry of Defence
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

A US official says American forces have had to fire into the air at Kabul Airport, to stop Afghans trying to board military flights.

Thousands of people have descended on the terminal there, with some climbing on structures to get onto planes after the Taliban took hold.

The first group of evacuated Britons and embassy staff arrived at RAF Brize Norton last night.

The Ministry of Defence saidthe flight contained British Nationals and Embassy Staff evacuated as part of Op PITTING.

The UK Armed Forces are supporting the evacuation of British Nationals and those eligible for relocation under the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Program.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has admitted "some people won't get back" from Afghanistan as a desperate struggle to get UK nationals and local allies out of the country continued.

Mr Wallace, who previously served in the Scots Guards, appeared to choke up while appearing on the LBC's Nick Ferrari on Monday morning as he spoke about the evacuation effort from the country, which has fallen to the Taliban following the withdrawal of Western troops.

British troops are racing against the clock to get remaining UK nationals and their local allies out of Afghanistan following the dramatic fall of the country's Western-backed government.

But becoming emotional while speaking to LBC, Mr Wallace spoke of his regret that "some people won't get back".

He said: "It's a really deep part of regret for me ... look, some people won't get back. Some people won't get back and we will have to do our best in third countries to process those people."

Lead elements of 16 Air Assault Brigade were working with US forces to secure Kabul airport to ensure flights can continue as Afghans and foreigners alike scramble to leave.

Mr Wallace said the barrier to helping more people leave the country was how quickly they could be processed.