Kabul evacuation enters its final stages following bomb attack
The UK Armed Forces have now entered the final stages of the evacuation from Hamid Karzai Airport in Kabul.
The Ministry of Defence has said that processing facilities inside the Baron Hotel in Kabul have been closed, enabling those in the Afghan capital to focus efforts on evacuating the British nationals and others that have been processed and who are at the airport awaiting departure.
Following the bomb attack at the airport on 26 August, the UK’s ability to process further cases is now extremely reduced and additional numbers will be limited. No further people will be called forward to the airport for evacuation.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “Our top priority as we move through this process will be the protection of all those involved who are operating in a heightened threat environment. It is with deep regret that not everyone has been able to be evacuated during this process. But I am proud of this remarkable achievement from our Border Force, Armed Forces, MOD, FCDO, Home Office who have evacuated over 13,000 people in 14 days during Operation Pitting. We will continue to honour our debt to all those who have not yet been able to leave Afghanistan. We will do all that we can to ensure they reach safety.”
At least 90 people have been killed and 150 others wounded, according to BBC reports, after two powerful bomb blasts struck the perimeter of Kabul's Hamid Karzai International Airport. The Pentagon confirmed 13 US service personnel were among those killed.
The bombings came hours after Western governments had warned their citizens to stay away from the airport, because of an imminent threat of an attack by IS-K, the Afghanistan branch of the ISIS group.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab gave a statement following his call with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken after the attack in Kabul.
In it he said: “Today’s attack is a stark reminder of the dangerous situation in which UK military and civilian personnel have been working so hard to evacuate people and we should be proud of their bravery and what they have achieved. The UK and US remain resolute in our mission to get as many people out as possible. It is testament to the remarkable courage of our personnel that they continue to do so while under fire. We will not let the cowardly acts of terrorists stop us.”