Afghanistan: Final UK evacuation flight solely for Afghans leaves Kabul, confirms Ministry of Defence

Afghanistan: Final UK evacuation flight solely for Afghans leaves Kabul, confirms Ministry of Defence

The final UK evacuation flight purely for Afghan nationals has left Kabul, the Ministry of Defence has said.

Any more flights that depart from Kabul before Western withdrawal on August 31 will now carry British diplomatic and military personnel.

Almost 15,000 Afghan and British nationals have been evacuated as part of Operation Pitting since August 13.

Sir Laurie Bristow, the British Ambassador to Afghanistan, said it was “time to close this phase” of the evacuation.

“The team here have been working until the very last moment to evacuate British nationals, Afghans and others at risk,” he said.

“It’s time to close this phase of the operation now, but we haven’t forgotten the people who still need to leave.

General Sir Nick Carter, the Chief of the Defence Staff, on Saturday praised the “extraordinary” efforts of the last couple of weeks and insisted that it had gone as well as it could in the circumstances.

“We’re reaching the end of the evacuation which will take place towards the end of today,” General Sir Nick said.

“We haven’t been able to bring everybody out and that has been heartbreaking and there have been some very challenging judgements that have had to be made on the ground.”

A former British soldier who helped dozens of people leave Kabul after the Taliban’s invasion is stranded in Afghanistan after the Foreign Office bungled the paperwork necessary to evacuate him.

Ben Slater, a former bodyguard to ambassadors including Mark Sedwill, runs an NGO in Afghanistan and said he felt “let down” by the UK Government after he worked with the British military to get Westerners on evacuation flights, but cannot get on one himself.

Few flights are left of the UK’s evacuation effort, with Boris Johnson on Friday warning the mission, Operation Pitting, was headed into its “final hours”.

On Saturday, as the last UK military evacuation flights left Kabul airport, Mr Slater said he had given up hope of being rescued by Britain.

“I’ve given up on UK evac,” he said. “Thus far I’ve helped 67 do the impossible and could not help my own people yet. “But I will get them to the airport. Me leaving them behind in my eyes is murder. I can’t live with that.”

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