UK ambassador is still in Kabul airport to process visas for evacuees
He was reportedly personally processing visa applications for evacuees at Kabul airport.
Officials in the Afghan capital were left stunned by the speed at which the Taliban were able to take control of Kabul, creating a chaotic scene as staff and citizens were frantically evacuated.
But the Foreign Office has said that ambassador Sir Laurie Bristow had stayed behind to help process the evacuation of remaining Britons. The i reports that he has been personally processing visa applications at the airport.
A spokesperson for the Foreign Office said: "We have reduced our diplomatic presence in response to the situation on the ground, but our ambassador remains in Kabul and UK Government staff continue to work to provide assistance to British nationals and to our Afghan staff.
"We are doing all we can to enable remaining British nationals, who want to leave Afghanistan, to do so."
Despite the last British troops pulling out from Afghanistan last month, there are now around 600 British troops in Kabul attempting to help airlift British officials out of the city, with as many as 2,000 interpreters and their families eligible for rescue. There are a further 3,000 British personnel who are British and dual passport holders and may need to be evacuated soon.
But according to the Daily Mail, only 450 have applied to leave the country, despite the Foreign Office urging them to leave Afghanistan since April.
Last night the first flight of British Nationals and Embassy Staff arrived at RAF Brize Norton as part of Op PITTING.
The UK Armed Forces are supporting the evacuation of British Nationals and those eligible for relocation under the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Program. pic.twitter.com/IyGNIMEaD0
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) August 16, 2021
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said that he is confident the government can get British nationals out of Afghanistan safely. He added he had received assurances from the Taliban that Kabul airport would be allowed to function as normal.
Wallace told BBC Breakfast: "If we manage to keep it in the way we’re planning to, we should have capacity for over 1,000 people a day to exit to the United Kingdom.
"Currently, this is not about capacity on planes, it's about processing speeds, so that's why I’m trying to fix that.
"If we can manage to keep the airport running in the way we are putting in place our people to deliver then I’m confident that by the end of the month we could get everyone out and actually hopefully sooner."
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