Defence Minister warns of 'very real security threat' from Islamic State at Kabul airport

23 August 2021, 08:23 | Updated: 23 August 2021, 08:54

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

More than 1,800 people have been evacuated from Kabul over the last 24 hours but warns there is a 'real security threat from ISIS.'

On Monday morning, armed forces minister James Heappey told LBC: "In the last 24-hour period, across eight flights, the Royal Air Force have extracted 1,821 people from Kabul."

He added that the Government expects "a further nine flights over the next 24 hours".

Mr Heappey also said the number of people which the UK hopes to evacuate overall has changed over time.

Providing an 'ops update' the minister warned the "situation on the ground remains challenging," with a 'real security threat" from Islamic State.

It comes as military planes making evacuation runs into Kabul airport have been dropping flares and carrying out nose dive combat landings as its feared terrorists may try to shoot one down.

US military planes have been carrying out rapid, diving combat landings at the airport which is surrounded by Taliban fighters in an effort to attempt to evade any missile attack.

Video also emerged showing a French military transport plane yesterday deploying flares, which are designed to confuse heat-seeking technology that allows the weapons to look on.

Brigadier Dan Blanchford, the most senior UK military officer on the ground in Kabul, said British troops had "witnessed some harrowing scenes", with at least seven Afghan civilians confirmed to have died outside the airfield gates amid chaotic crowds.

It has been reported that as many as 20 people have been killed in the past week while trying to get into the departure point.

He said UK armed forces were "redoubling" efforts to "speed up the process" of helping people make their exit, with the Times reporting that the RAF hopes to fly out as many as 2,000 people per day.

The newspaper also said the military will be extending the deadline for the last RAF evacuation, pushing it back from Tuesday to Friday or Saturday, with the evacuation programme expanded from 6,000 people eligible to come to Britain to more than 12,000.