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'They're heroes witnessing desperation and suffering daily': Minister on British troops
26 August 2021, 09:59
Minister's heartfelt tribute to British armed forces in Kabul who are seeing "desperation and suffering" daily.
After Nick Ferrari paid tribute to the bravery of the British troops at Kabul airport engaged in evacuation flights, Armed Forces Minister James Heappey echoed his sentiments.
“Imagine that you are there, you’ve been faced with that desperation, that suffering. You’ve seen people die in the crush of the queue outside you."
"You have spent the whole week trying to save life, facilitate safe passage, protect the vulnerable and you have to do all of that whilst knowing that potentially within the crowd is somebody who is trying to take lives in their hundreds.”
The Minister told LBC many of the troops at the airport are "18 and 19-year-old brave young men and women who have signed up to serve in our nations armed forces."
"They’re heroes Nick and we should all be really proud of them."
Opening up, Mr Heappey admitted not everyone would be able to get on an evacuation aircraft.
"You know, we won’t get everybody out - there will be people on your TV screens over the weekend that have been left behind."
But, the former army officer said this was not a reflection on the troops on the ground.
"Absolutely none of the Paras, the pilots, anybody who has been involved in this mission should look at those TV pictures and see it as a personal reflection of their endeavours over the last few days."
"The reality is that we’ve brought out 5,000 people – already more than we thought be needed to bring out when we started this mission – it’s the most remarkable effort.
"They’re doing it in the face of the most severe of threats. It’s just such a shame that we can’t bring everybody out, it’s just such a shame that this threat is disrupting our evacuation effort over the period that the threat remains as acute as it is. I wish it weren’t that way, but it is."