Afghanistan: Seven people dead outside Kabul International airport - UK Ministry of Defence

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said “no nation will be able to get everyone out” of Afghanistan

Seven people have died in the crowds outside Kabul International airport, the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said.

The UK pledged its “complete support” to the US if Joe Biden opted to extend the deadline for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, as the evacuation situation in Kabul worsened.

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At a glance: 5 key points

  • The MoD has said seven Afghan civilians have died in chaotic scenes outside Kabul’s international airport. 
  • The UK has pledged its “complete support” to the US if President Joe Biden opts to extend the deadline for withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan. 
  • Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said “no nation will be able to get everyone out” of Afghanistan, in what is likely to be seen as a plea to Washington. 
  • A meeting of G7 leaders has been arranged for early this week, as senior figures in Kabul warned that the latest chaos is combing with drought, huge displacements of people and economic paralysis could create a disaster requiring immediate international action. 
  • Home Secretary Priti Patel has vowed to “do right by those who need us most in this darkest of hours” as the UK looks to the US to extend the deadline for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan.
Image by Omar Haidiri shows a US Marine grabbing an infant over a fence of barbed wire during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul Photo by OMAR HAIDIRI/Courtesy of Omar Haidiri/AFP via Getty Images)

What’s been said?

The Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “Our sincere thoughts are with the families of the seven Afghan civilians who have sadly died in crowds in Kabul.”

“Conditions on the ground remain extremely challenging but we are doing everything we can to manage the situation as safely and securely as possible.”

In the Mail on Sunday, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace wrote: “If the US timetable remains, we have no time to lose to get the majority of the people waiting out.

“Perhaps the Americans will be permitted to stay longer, and they will have our complete support if they do.”

Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy shared a letter on social media that she had sent Mr Raab about the “crisis” facing evacuees, as she sought additional assistance for those on the ground.

The senior Opposition figure said Labour MPs have been hearing of people being “shot at, beaten and raped” while they wait to be called forward at the airport, while the Baron Hotel in the city, where many British nationals are being told to go for processing, is being blockaded by the Taliban.

Ms Nandy asked whether Nato allies could put in place a “military policing operation” at the gates of Hamid Karzai International Airport or within the internal processing zone to protect those waiting.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has vowed to “do right by those who need us most in this darkest of hours” as the deadline for withdrawing troops may extend.

Writing in the Sun,  Ms Patel said: “The UK will not be found wanting. We will do right by those who need us most in this darkest of hours.”

US soldiers stand guard behind barbed wire as Afghans sit on a roadside near the military part of the airport in Kabul Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images)

Background

Efforts to evacuate people out of Kabul are currently still underway.

Sir Laurie Bristow, the British ambassador to Afghanistan who has stayed in the capital to help process applications, said the rescue effort was “without a doubt the biggest international challenge I have worked on as a diplomat”

The Ministry of Defence confirmed that the Operation Pitting evacuation mission is being supported by 1,000 British troops – including Paras from 16 Air Assault Brigade – with nearly 4,000 people repatriated from Afghanistan since August 13.

Dominic Raab, the Foriegn Secretary, has agreed to issue visa waivers for more than 200 Afghan journalists who worked with the British media after an appeal by a coalition of British newspapers and broadcasters.

Additional reporting by PA