UK will stop Kabul when US pulls troops out, says defence minister

2021-08-23 16:11:27

The UK’s evacuation operation in Afghanistan will cease each time the US navy withdraws troops from Kabul, the defence secretary has confirmed.

Ben Wallace has stated the Kabul evacuation effort is “right down to hours now, not weeks” as he conceded British troops’ involvement in getting individuals out the nation will finish when the US leaves.

“The prime minister is clearly on the G7 going to try to increase the prospect of seeing if the US will prolong,” Mr Wallace stated on Boris Johnson’s bid to get Joe Biden to push the deadline past 31 August.

Chatting with reporters on Monday, the minister: “It’s actually necessary for individuals to know the USA have over 6,000 individuals in Kabul airport and after they withdraw that can take away the framework … and we must go as nicely.”

Mr Wallace added: “I don’t assume there may be any chance of staying on after the USA. If their timetable extends even by a day or two, that can give us a day or two extra to evacuate individuals.”

The defence secretary claimed time was working out to evacuate remaining Britons and Afghan who labored with the British mission. “We’re actually right down to hours now, not weeks, and now we have to verify we exploit each minute to get individuals out.”

Mr Wallace additionally made clear that the Taliban might not permit evacuation effort to proceed past the top of the month. “The US and G7 will not be the one stakeholders on this – the Taliban now have a vote and the safety state of affairs is precarious. However I might additionally say it’s within the Taliban pursuits to maintain the nation open.”

The Taliban has warned the US president that there’ll “be penalties” if he retains any troops in Afghanistan previous the top of August. Suhail Shaheen, a spokesperson for the militant group, stated the deadline set by Washington was a “crimson line” and have to be revered.

Mr Wallace and overseas secretary Dominic Raab held talks with their Washington counterparts over the weekend to press house the will for US troops to stay in Afghanistan past August.

The prime minister is because of use an emergency G7 summit on Tuesday to personally foyer Mr Biden on the difficulty. Mr Johnson stated it was “very important that the worldwide group works collectively to make sure protected evacuations”.

However the US president has signalled that he doesn’t need US armed forces to remain within the nation past August. “Our hope is that we don’t have to increase however there are discussions happening about how far we’re.”

The Ministry of Defence confirmed that 5,725 individuals have been repatriated since rescue efforts started on August 13, with 3,100 of them Afghan people and their households.

On Sunday, 1,721 individuals had been airlifted from Kabul by the Royal Air Drive throughout eight flights.

Brigadier Dan Blanchford, essentially the most senior UK navy officer on the bottom in Kabul, stated British troops had “witnessed some harrowing scenes”, with at the very least seven Afghan civilians confirmed to have died outdoors the airfield gates amid chaotic crowds.

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