Boris Johnson has said the “overwhelming majority” of people eligible to come to the UK have now been evacuated from Afghanistan.
UK nationals near the Afghan capital’s airport were last night told leave and find a place of safety, as the evacuation effort grew increasingly desperate.
Speaking to broadcasters on a visit to the Permanent Joint Headquarters in north London, where he met military personnel co-ordinating the evacuation effort, the prime minister said around 15,000 people had already been evacuated by British troops.
This includes embassy staff, British nationals, those eligible under the Afghan relocation and assistance policy (Arap) programme, as well as some evacuees from allied countries.
“In the time we have left, which may be – as I’m sure everybody can appreciate – quite short, we’ll do everything we can to get everybody else,” Johnson said.
It has been suggested today could be the last day of British evacuation flights.
Earlier, armed forces minister James Heappey told the BBC there would be 11 more flights out of Kabul today but declined to say whether there will be more on Friday.
Last night defence secretary Ben Wallace reporetedly told MPs eligible Afghans hoping to seek asylum in the UK were better off now heading for Afghanistan’s border and trying to make their way to a third country.
Johnson said the government had to be “transparent” about the risk of terrorism at the airport.
“We have to be realistic about what’s going on, and you’ll appreciate that there are Islamic State Khorasan province (Isis-K) terrorists out there,” he said.
“I can’t go into the details, clearly. But we have to be mindful of the security of our personnel, but also of the Afghan people who are trying to get out.”