Defence Secretary Ben Wallace expressed “deep regret” that not everyone eligible had been evacuated, including around 800 to 1,100 Afghans and 100 to 150 Britons, reports Asian Lite Newsdesk
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the suicide attacks in Kabul, which killed two Brits and a child of a British national, showed how urgent it was for evacuations to conclude.
“The loss of two British nationals and the child of a British citizen in the Kabul airport bombing (yesterday) underlines the urgency of concluding the Operation PITTING (evacuation),” he said.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has informed that two UK citizens and the child of another UK citizen were killed in the terrorist attack in Kabul.
“I was deeply saddened to learn that two British nationals and the child of another British national were killed by yesterday’s terror attack, with two more injured,” Raab said in a statement released by the Foreign Office.
“Yesterday’s despicable attack underlines the dangers facing those in Afghanistan and reinforces why we are doing all we can to get people out. We are offering consular support to their families. We will not turn our backs on those who look to us in their hour of need, and we will never be cowed by terrorists,” he added.
A day after an explosion rocked Kabul, Pentagon on Friday said that approximately 5,400 individuals at the airport are awaiting flights out of Afghanistan.
“There are still approx 5,400 individuals at the airport awaiting flights out of Afghanistan. We have the ability to include evacuees on the US military airlift out of Afghanistan… ISIS will not deter us from accomplishing this mission,” said US Army Major General William “Hank” Taylor during a briefing.
Major General Taylor clarified that there was only one explosion at the Abbey gate at Hamid Karzai International airport on Thursday. Earlier, the Pentagon had said there was a second explosion outside the Baron hotel in its initial statements.
The death toll from yesterday’s blast in Kabul has surged to more than 90 people killed, CNN reported. The report said that more than 150 people were wounded by the blast.
UK ends evacuation
UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace on Friday said that its evacuation mission is in ‘final hours’ in Afghanistan, four days prior to the August 31 deadline by the Taliban.
Wallace told Sky News the effort was into its “final hours” after the closure of the main processing center in Kabul at the Baron Hotel near the airport.
He said, “We at 4.30 this morning, UK-time, closed the Baron Hotel, shut the processing center and the gates were closed at Abbey Gate.
“We will process the people that we’ve brought with us, the 1,000 people approximately in the airfield now and we will seek a way to continue to find a few people in the crowds where we can, but overall the main processing is now closed and we have a matter of hours.
“The sad fact is not every single one will get out. The threat is obviously going to grow the closer we get to leaving,” said Wallace.
People eligible to be resettled in the UK will be left behind as the final British flights leave on Friday following an attack at Baron Hotel that closed just hours after an attack which was claimed by terror group ISIS-K, outside the Kabul airport that killed 13 US troops and 78 Afghans, reported Sky News.
Wallace said he had authorized the loosening of regulations on numbers “to pack people in” on the final flights out. It is expected about 600 people will now be able to board military transporters.
The defence secretary said the night before the attack the British Army had pushed a perimeter away from the Barons Hotel by about 300 meters, reported Sky News.
“If they hadn’t pushed that perimeter further out we’d be in a worse place,” he added.
Defence sources told Sky News up to half of those crowding into the Baron Hotel yesterday for processing were not cleared under the Afghanistan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) for interpreters or the Leave Outside the Immigration Rules (LOTR) scheme, making processing difficult.
The roughly 1,000 UK troops at the airport will start packing up and leaving after the final evacuations have taken place today, the defence secretary said. (ANI)