Another 1,000 ‘could’ve been saved if Dominic Raab cut his holiday short’

A furious blame game over the Afghanistan crisis has broken out in Whitehall, with Ministers claiming that Dominic Raab’s decision to stay on holiday in the Mediterranean as Kabul fell to the Taliban meant that up to 1,000 people have not been evacuated who otherwise would have been.

Cabinet Ministers and Whitehall officials have accused the Foreign Office of negligence in preparing escape routes out of war-torn Afghanistan and claimed that up to 9,000 people who could have been eligible for evacuation would be left trapped there.

The Sunday Times reports that the Foreign Secretary did not make a single phone call to the Afghan or Pakistani Foreign Ministers in the six months before the Taliban coup because he ‘thought Afghanistan was yesterday’s war and the Government was totally focused on Brexit’.

Mr Raab has faced calls to resign after allegedly defying orders from Downing Street to cut his holiday short by two days before returning to London while Kabul fell to the jihadists. Instead, he was accused of topping up his tan at the Amirandes Hotel in Crete, a five-star resort which boasts its own private beach and ‘one of the biggest pools you’ll ever see,’ according to its website. 

Anyone who gets to a third country and qualifies for the resettlement scheme for Afghan former British staff will be offered a free flight to the UK. However, the neighbouring countries of Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan are reluctant to provide free passage for refugees. 

One Minister told the paper: ‘The Foreign Office failed to roll the pitch with these countries for months. The PM wanted third countries involved and Raab did nothing. Boris is exasperated that the Foreign Office has not done what he told them. They also took their people out and that cost us several days. 

‘I suspect we could have taken out 800 to 1,000 more people if they had not done that.’ 

Operation Pitting, the largest UK military evacuation since the Second World War, airlifted more than 15,000 people in a fortnight on more than 100 RAF flights. It included 5,000 British nationals and their families and more than 8,000 Afghan former UK staff and their relatives. 

However, some 150 British nationals and more than 1,000 Afghans who assisted British forces during the intervention have been left behind. Government sources insisted Britain’s absence from the war-ravaged country was only temporary. 

Labour has accused Government ministers of being ‘missing in action’ during the Afghanistan crisis, with leader Sir Keir Starmer raging: ‘The complacency and incompetence of this Government has been exposed yet again and with tragic consequences.’ 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab visit The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Crisis Centre at the Foreign Offices on August 27, 2021 in London

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab visit The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Crisis Centre at the Foreign Offices on August 27, 2021 in London

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab visit The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Crisis Centre at the Foreign Offices on August 27, 2021 in London

Mr Raab has faced calls to resign after allegedly defying orders from Downing Street to cut his holiday short by two days before returning to London while Kabul fell to the jihadists. Instead, he was accused of topping up his tan at the Amirandes Hotel in Crete

A US Marine with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit checks an Afghan woman as she goes through the Evacuation Control Center during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport

A US Marine with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit checks an Afghan woman as she goes through the Evacuation Control Center during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport

A US Marine with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit checks an Afghan woman as she goes through the Evacuation Control Center during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport

Taliban fighters patrol in Kabul, Afghanistan

Taliban fighters patrol in Kabul, Afghanistan

Taliban fighters patrol in Kabul, Afghanistan

Members of the British armed forces 16 Air Assault Brigade depart a flight from Afghanistan at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire

Members of the British armed forces 16 Air Assault Brigade depart a flight from Afghanistan at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire

Members of the British armed forces 16 Air Assault Brigade depart a flight from Afghanistan at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire

The luxury Crete hotel where Dominic Raab ‘was staying as Taliban went on the rampage in Afghanistan’ 

It styles itself as a 'sparkling boutique resort for the privileged and perceptive'

It styles itself as a 'sparkling boutique resort for the privileged and perceptive'

It styles itself as a ‘sparkling boutique resort for the privileged and perceptive’

It styles itself as a ‘sparkling boutique resort for the privileged and perceptive’.

But after Dominic Raab admitted being ‘caught off-guard’ by the Taliban rampage, the luxury Crete hotel where he apparently stayed last week may wish to rethink the final word of its boast.

Mr Raab was spotted at the five-star Amirandes Hotel

Mr Raab was spotted at the five-star Amirandes Hotel

Mr Raab was spotted at the five-star Amirandes Hotel

Mr Raab was spotted at the five-star Amirandes Hotel, just before he jetted back into Britain to help deal with what has been described as the biggest foreign policy disaster since Suez.

The Amirandes, which is situated on its own private beach, says it has ‘a first-class dining scene and one of the biggest pools you’ll ever see’ – and is said to be ‘inspired by the palaces of Minoan kings’. 

The Amirandes, which is situated on its own private beach, says it has 'a first-class dining scene'

The Amirandes, which is situated on its own private beach, says it has 'a first-class dining scene'

The Amirandes, which is situated on its own private beach, says it has ‘a first-class dining scene’

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A senior Pakistani official told the Sunday Times that Mr Raab had shown no interest in talking to Islamabad in the months before the takeover because ‘he just didn’t care’. ‘He thought Afghanistan was yesterday’s war and the Government was totally focused on Brexit,’ the official added.

The Foreign Office told the paper that Mr Raab had spoken twice to the Pakistani Foreign Minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, on August 22 and again on Friday – but could not point to earlier conversations.

They also apparently admitted that responsibility for speaking to the Afghan Foreign Minister was delegated to Lord Ahmad, the Minister for South Asia. However, earlier reports alleged that Lord Ahmad was on leave when the Taliban marched into Kabul. 

The Foreign Office told the Sunday Times: ‘This has been the biggest and most challenging evacuation in living memory – a team effort that would not have been possible without the Foreign Office.’ MailOnline has contacted the department for comment. 

Sir Keir slammed the Government’s handling of the crisis, adding: ‘We’ve known for 18 months that this moment was coming. It is unconscionable that there was no strategy in place to get all the British nationals and Afghans we owed a debt to out. 

‘I pay tribute to all the FCDO staff and military personnel who have, as ever, stepped up when their leaders have failed them.

‘The fact that so many emails have simply gone unopened is not the fault of civil servants but of government ministers who have been missing in action during this whole crisis. MPs and their staff have been hearing harrowing stories from so many people we should have taken care of but who have been abandoned to the Taliban.’

Labour MPs tweeted about the efforts their staff had gone to collate the information to send to officials. Sir Keir added: ‘Can the Government tell us how many of the people in those emails got out, or more importantly haven’t who were eligible to?

‘We need urgent answers from the Prime Minister on what will be done to ensure the safety of those left behind, on proper support for MPs to be able to do their job and on new leadership at the Foreign Office. 

‘Serious times call for serious leadership and this Government simply isn’t up to the job.’

Boris Johnson has described Britain’s hasty scuttle from Afghanistan as ‘the culmination of a mission unlike anything we’ve seen in our lifetimes’ as the last remaining British troops leave Kabul, bringing our two decades of military involvement in the country to an end.

In a video clip uploaded to Twitter on Sunday, the Prime Minister said: ‘UK troops and officials have worked around the clock to a remorseless deadline in harrowing conditions. They have expended all the patience and care and thought they possess to help people in fear for their lives.

‘They’ve seen at first-hand barbaric terrorist attacks on the queues of people they were trying to comfort, as well as on our American friends. They didn’t flinch. They kept calm. They got on with the job. It’s thanks to their colossal exertions that this country has now processed, checked, vetted and airlifted more than 15,000 people to safety in less than two weeks.’   

As images from inside military aircraft were shared online by The Parachute Regiment and the Ministry of Defence last night showing exhausted British troops leaving Kabul, Mr Johnson pledged to return to Afghanistan when it is safe to do so. 

In a bid to put a positive gloss on Britain’s departure, the Prime Minister vowed to ‘use all the diplomatic and humanitarian tools at our disposal to preserve the gains of the last 20 years’. 

Addressing the families and loved ones of the British troops who ‘gave their all’, Mr Johnson said: ‘Your suffering and your hardship were not in vain.’ He added: ‘It was no accident that there’s been no terrorist attack launched against Britain or any other western country from Afghanistan in the last 20 years.

‘It was thanks to the bravery of our Armed Forces who fought to knock out (Osama) Bin Laden’s networks. Thanks to the devotion of British troops and aid workers and diplomats and others, we’ve helped educate 3.6 million girls.

‘Whatever the future may hold for Afghanistan, they will have that gift for the rest of their lives, a gift they will pass on to their daughters as well as their sons.’ 

US President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw his forces by the end of the month left Mr Johnson with no alternative but to follow suit – putting the so-called ‘special relationship’ under strain and prompting angry Tory MPs to question Mr Biden’s suitability for the White House. 

Yesterday, Mr Biden said that another attack on the Kabul airport could be imminent, while vowing that his revenge strike for an ISIS-K attack that killed 13 US troops is ‘not the last.’ 

‘The situation on the ground continues to be extremely dangerous, and the threat of terrorist attacks on the airport remains high. Our commanders informed me that an attack is highly likely in the next 24-36 hours,’ the President said in a statement on Saturday. 

A Taliban Badri fighter, a "special forces" unit, stands guard as Afghans hoping to leave Afghanistan wait at the main entrance gate of Kabul airport in Kabul

A Taliban Badri fighter, a "special forces" unit, stands guard as Afghans hoping to leave Afghanistan wait at the main entrance gate of Kabul airport in Kabul

A Taliban Badri fighter, a ‘special forces’ unit, stands guard as Afghans hoping to leave Afghanistan wait at the main entrance gate of Kabul airport in Kabul

Internally displaced Afghan families live in a temporary shelter at a park in Kabul, Afghanistan

Internally displaced Afghan families live in a temporary shelter at a park in Kabul, Afghanistan

Internally displaced Afghan families live in a temporary shelter at a park in Kabul, Afghanistan

US Marines with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit process evacuees as they go through the Evacuation Control Center during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport

US Marines with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit process evacuees as they go through the Evacuation Control Center during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport

US Marines with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit process evacuees as they go through the Evacuation Control Center during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport

UK military personnel onboard a A400M aircraft departing Kabul, Afghanistan

UK military personnel onboard a A400M aircraft departing Kabul, Afghanistan

UK military personnel onboard a A400M aircraft departing Kabul, Afghanistan

‘A mission unlike anything we’ve seen in our lifetimes’: Boris Johnson praises UK troops as they land in UK on last flight out of Kabul – but PM says Britain ‘will return’ amid strain on Biden relationship after 150 Brits and 1,000 Afghans were left behind 

Boris Johnson has described Britain’s hasty scuttle from Afghanistan as ‘the culmination of a mission unlike anything we’ve seen in our lifetimes’ as the last British troops landed in RAF Brize Norton this morning, bringing out two decades of involvement in the country to an end. 

In a video clip uploaded to Twitter on Sunday, the Prime Minister said: ‘UK troops and officials have worked around the clock to a remorseless deadline in harrowing conditions. They have expended all the patience and care and thought they possess to help people in fear for their lives.

‘They’ve seen at first-hand barbaric terrorist attacks on the queues of people they were trying to comfort, as well as on our American friends. They didn’t flinch. They kept calm. They got on with the job. It’s thanks to their colossal exertions that this country has now processed, checked, vetted and airlifted more than 15,000 people to safety in less than two weeks.’  

The final British troops and diplomatic staff were airlifted from Kabul on Saturday, drawing to a close Britain’s 20-year engagement in Afghanistan and a two-week operation to rescue trapped British nationals and Afghan allies who assisted us during our intervention.

British Ambassador to Afghanistan Sir Laurie Bristow, who had been processing those fleeing the country at Hamid Karzai International Airport until the last moment, was among those who landed at RAF Brize Norton base in Oxfordshire this morning. 

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As the US military rushes into the final evacuation of Kabul airport ahead of Mr Biden’s Tuesday deadline for withdrawal, the President defended his drone strike, which the Pentagon said killed two ISIS-K ‘planners and facilitators’ in response to the deadly suicide bomb attack.

‘I said we would go after the group responsible for the attack on our troops and innocent civilians in Kabul, and we have. This strike was not the last. We will continue to hunt down any person involved in that heinous attack and make them pay,’ Mr Biden said in the written statement.

The Taliban condemned the US drone strike, with a spokesman describing the operation as a ‘clear attack on Afghan territory’.

Around 2,200 children were evacuated, the youngest just a day old.  Afghan ‘sleeper’ agents who fed intelligence to MI6, including information about the suicide bomb attack at Kabul airport last week, have also been whisked to safety.   

Speaking at RAF Brize Norton, Vice-Admiral Ben Key, Chief of Joint Operations, who commands Operation Pitting, said: ‘Although the United Kingdom’s Operation Pitting finishes today, of course the United States are still engaged in their own withdrawal and I would be very nervous in saying we had completed a successful withdrawal from Afghanistan until all our allies and partners have returned.

‘The United States has provided the framework for security in Kabul as part of a huge international effort and so operations continue even if the UK’s particular contribution concludes today.’

On the fact that not everyone eligible for evacuation from Kabul could be rescued, he said: ‘That is both true and a matter of great sadness for all of us that have been involved in this.

‘Whilst we recognise and I pay testament to the achievement of everything that has been achieved by coalition forces, but particularly the British contingent, over the last two weeks, in the end we know that there are some really sad stories of people who have desperately tried to leave that we have – no matter how hard our efforts – we have been unsuccessful in evacuating.’

Vice-Admiral Key added: ‘There has been a phenomenal effort achieved in the last two weeks. And I think we always knew that somewhere we would fall just short.

‘So, this isn’t a moment of celebration for us at all, this is a moment to mark a tremendous international effort to evacuate as many people as we could in the time available.

‘That sense of sadness that we haven’t done all we would have wished and we will continue to work … in the future with the next leadership of Afghanistan, with the Taliban, and others to make sure those who would wish to come back to his country continue to have an opportunity to do so.

‘Sadly, we have just not been able to evacuate them under this framework.’

Speaking to the PA news agency, Vice-Admiral Key said pictures from the airlifts showed UK service personnel were ‘deeply tired’ having ‘given their all over the last two weeks’.

He said: ‘Some of the pictures that have come back in the last few days have painted a really good impression of just how desperate and difficult those conditions have been in the last few weeks.

‘The pictures of them sitting in the aircraft coming back, these are deeply tired people who have given of their all over the last two weeks. They have travelled with very little equipment – we didn’t allow them to carry much kit – and in many cases they have lived in the clothes they have been wearing for many days.

‘They have been sleeping in rough conditions, eating off ration packs and their sole motivation has been to help as many of the Afghans and British entitled personnel as they possibly could. 

Ambassador to Afghanistan Sir Laurie Bristow exits a plane after being evacuated from Kabul upon its arrival at RAF Brize Norton base in Oxfordshire

Ambassador to Afghanistan Sir Laurie Bristow exits a plane after being evacuated from Kabul upon its arrival at RAF Brize Norton base in Oxfordshire

Ambassador to Afghanistan Sir Laurie Bristow exits a plane after being evacuated from Kabul upon its arrival at RAF Brize Norton base in Oxfordshire

Members of the British armed forces 16 Air Assault Brigade walk to the air terminal after departing a flight from Afghanistan at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire

Members of the British armed forces 16 Air Assault Brigade walk to the air terminal after departing a flight from Afghanistan at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire

Members of the British armed forces 16 Air Assault Brigade walk to the air terminal after departing a flight from Afghanistan at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire

Pen Farthing lands at Heathrow with his dogs and cats on a private charter plane from Kabul before ‘jetting to Oslo to reunite with his wife’ – but the animals ‘could be destroyed if they’re riddled with disease’ 

An ex-Royal Marine who founded an animal rescue charity in Kabul landed at London Heathrow with his cats and dogs on a private charter plane from Afghanistan early this morning and immediately took a connecting flight to Norway to visit his wife, it has been claimed.

Pen Farthing flew back to the UK last night with his menagerie of animals rescued by the Nowzad charity. The 57-year-old’s chartered jet from Pakistan landed in Kabul at around 6pm local time and stopped off in Muscat before making its journey to Heathrow Airport.

The ex-Commando then took a connecting flight to Oslo to see his wife Kaisa Markhus, who fled Afghanistan last week in the chaos which gripped the Central Asian country following the Taliban seizure of power, according to airport security and officials on the ground.

Nearly 200 cats and dogs airlifted from Kabul are now thought to be in quarantine as per UK law. However, they could be put down if they have disease, with Whitehall officials calling the situation like Geronimo the alpaca – who is destruction after testing positive for Bovine TB – ‘on speed’. 

Mr Farthing’s controversial publicity campaign to pressure the British Government to get his staff and animals out of the Afghan capital following the Taliban coup gained huge public support and helped the ex-Royal Marine to raise enough money to charter a private plane. 

But it has also led to accusations that the ex-Commando took up resources that could have been used to evacuate more people from Kabul.

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‘It’s been a combination of deep professionalism, considerable courage, really sophisticated judgment and, on occasion, huge compassion, and it’s been difficult for those of us back here not to just have the most enormous admiration for what they’ve done and how they’ve gone about it.’ 

Vice-Admiral Key continued: ‘Am I optimistic for the future? I think I watch with interest. I am hopeful the investment we have made will grow into greater things, but I don’t think there’s any of us would say the last 20 years have not been worth it.’

On the evacuation effort, he said: ‘Of course we would have liked (more time) because then we could have brought more people out.

‘It would have allowed us to pull in those people who we know were still trying to get across from the city to the airport.

‘It would have given us a chance to really make sure we had reached out to those who had helped us so wonderfully and courageously over the last 20 years.

‘But the truth is no more time was granted to us by the Taliban, who were very clear that by the end of August not only had the evacuation had to be completed but we, the western militaries, had all withdrawn as well.

‘I don’t think there is a single person deployed forward, whether the thousand or so in Kabul or the many hundreds of others drawn across from Her Majesty’s Government in the Middle East or back here, who could have given more in the last two, two-and-a-half, weeks.

‘The effort has been, frankly, truly humbling to see hours worked with exhaustion painted on people’s faces, so we tried our best, we have absolutely tried our best.’

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

A former head of the British Army has said it was ‘unfathomable why it would appear that the Government was asleep on watch’ in relation to the protection of Afghans who helped soldiers and officials.

Speaking on Times Radio, General Lord Richard Dannatt said: ‘On the particular issue of those who we knew were in danger, people who had worked for us, interpreters, former locally-engaged civilians, this issue has been in the media.

‘This issue has been on politicians’ desks for two to three years and, certainly, it’s been there during the course of this year.

‘I mean, you might remember, back in July, 45 senior officers wrote to the Government, an open letter to the Government, saying there are people we are concerned about and if we don’t do the right thing, their blood will be on our hands. It is unfathomable why it would appear that the Government was asleep on watch.

‘I think the issue of Afghanistan sat on the backburner. Maybe it started to come forward. But then, suddenly, when the Taliban took over the country in the precipitate fashion in which they did, it fell off the cooker straight onto the kitchen floor and we’ve … had this chaotic extraction.

‘We should have done better, we could have done better. It absolutely behoves us to find out why the Government didn’t spark up faster.’

Conservative MP and veteran Tobias Ellwood said the UK had ‘very little to show’ for 20 years in Afghanistan. The chairman of the Commons Defence Select Committee told LBC: ‘Our armed forces performed so valiantly but they were let down by their political masters.

‘We lacked the strategy, the statecraft, the patience to see through, and the manner of our departure is a humiliation, a confirmation of our diminished resolve, and our adversaries will not be slow to exploit it.’

He warned that ‘terrorism will raise its ugly face again’ and ‘until we defeat this ideology, we can have as many drone strikes as we like, we can invade as many countries as we like, we will never win’.

Mr Ellwood added: ‘Unfortunately, we’ve made the situation worse, by absenting ourselves from the very place where it’s now very easy for terrorist groups to do their work.’

‘A mission unlike anything we’ve seen in our lifetimes’: Boris Johnson praises UK troops as they land in UK on last flight out of Kabul – but PM says Britain ‘will return’ amid strain on Biden relationship after 150 Brits and 1,000 Afghans were left behind

By JACK WRIGHT, CHRIS JEWERS AND ROSS IBBETSON for MAILONLINE

Boris Johnson has described Britain’s hasty scuttle from Afghanistan as ‘the culmination of a mission unlike anything we’ve seen in our lifetimes’ as the last British troops landed in RAF Brize Norton this morning, bringing our two decades of involvement in the country to an end. 

In a video clip uploaded to Twitter on Sunday, the Prime Minister said: ‘UK troops and officials have worked around the clock to a remorseless deadline in harrowing conditions. They have expended all the patience and care and thought they possess to help people in fear for their lives.

‘They’ve seen at first-hand barbaric terrorist attacks on the queues of people they were trying to comfort, as well as on our American friends. They didn’t flinch. They kept calm. They got on with the job. It’s thanks to their colossal exertions that this country has now processed, checked, vetted and airlifted more than 15,000 people to safety in less than two weeks.’  

The final British troops and diplomatic staff were airlifted from Kabul on Saturday, drawing to a close Britain’s 20-year engagement in Afghanistan and a two-week operation to rescue trapped British nationals and Afghan allies who assisted us during our intervention.

A Voyager aircraft touched down at RAF Brize Norton airfield in Oxfordshire this morning, with roughly 250 personnel on board including members of 16 Air Assault Brigade who were stationed at Kabul airport. The plane flew in from Al Minhad airfield in the United Arab Emirates near Dubai where the UK’s evacuation flights from Afghanistan first landed.

British Ambassador to Afghanistan Sir Laurie Bristow, who had been processing those fleeing the country at Hamid Karzai International Airport until the last moment, was among those who landed at RAF Brize Norton base. Further flights carrying personnel are expected later on Sunday.

As images from inside military aircraft were shared online by The Parachute Regiment and the Ministry of Defence last night showing exhausted British troops leaving Kabul, the Prime Minister pledged to return to war-torn Afghanistan when it is safe to do so. 

Operation Pitting, the largest UK military evacuation since the Second World War, airlifted more than 15,000 people in a fortnight on more than 100 RAF flights. It included 5,000 British nationals and their families and more than 8,000 Afghan former UK staff and their relatives. 

However, 150 British nationals and more than 1,000 Afghans who assisted British forces during the intervention have been left behind. Government sources insisted Britain’s absence from the war-ravaged country was only temporary.

In a bid to put a positive gloss on the withdrawal, the Prime Minister vowed to ‘use all the diplomatic and humanitarian tools at our disposal to preserve the gains of the last 20 years’. 

Addressing the families and loved ones of the British troops who ‘gave their all’, Mr Johnson said: ‘Your suffering and your hardship were not in vain.’ He added: ‘It was no accident that there’s been no terrorist attack launched against Britain or any other western country from Afghanistan in the last 20 years.

‘It was thanks to the bravery of our Armed Forces who fought to knock out (Osama) Bin Laden’s networks. Thanks to the devotion of British troops and aid workers and diplomats and others, we’ve helped educate 3.6 million girls. Whatever the future may hold for Afghanistan, they will have that gift for the rest of their lives, a gift they will pass on to their daughters as well as their sons.’

US President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw his forces by the end of the month left Mr Johnson with no alternative but to follow suit – putting the so-called ‘special relationship’ under strain and prompting angry Tory MPs to question Mr Biden’s suitability for the White House. 

Yesterday, Mr Biden said that another attack on the Kabul airport could be imminent, while vowing that his revenge strike for an ISIS-K attack that killed 13 US troops is ‘not the last’. 

As the US military rushes into the final evacuation of Kabul airport ahead of Mr Biden’s Tuesday deadline for withdrawal, the President defended his drone strike, which the Pentagon said killed two ISIS-K ‘planners and facilitators’ in response to the deadly suicide bomb attack. 

The Taliban condemned the US drone strike, with a spokesman describing the operation as a ‘clear attack on Afghan territory’.

Around 2,200 children were evacuated, the youngest just a day old. Afghan ‘sleeper’ agents who fed intelligence to MI6, including information about the suicide bomb attack at Kabul airport last week, have also been whisked to safety. 

In other developments:

  • The last British rescue mission landed at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire this morning;
  • Ambassador to Afghanistan Sir Laurie Bristow arrived on one of the last flights back from Kabul; 
  • Dominic Raab was accused of abandoning 1,000 people eligible for evacuation by staying on holiday;
  • Labour has accused Government ministers of being ‘missing in action’ during the Afghanistan crisis;
  • Tory MP and veteran Tobias Ellwood said the UK had ‘very little to show’ for 20 years in Afghanistan;
  • Ex-head of British Army said it was ‘unfathomable why Government was asleep on watch’ in relation to the protection of Afghans who helped soldiers and officials;
  • Former Royal Marine Pen Farthing landed in Heathrow early today and flew out to Oslo, it has been claimed;
  • The ex-Commando is accused of ‘costing lives’ with campaign to evacuate 173 cats and dogs;  
  • Banks across Afghanistan have remained shut two weeks after the Taliban seizure of power; 
  • ISIS-K leaders suspected of masterminding airport attack ‘riding a tuk-tuk’ when they were killed in US strike; 
  • Priti Patel hailed Operation Warm Welcome, the plan to help Afghan refugees to resettle in the UK;  
  • Government has committed to take about 5,000 refugees in the first year and 20,000 over the coming years;
  • Sources claimed that Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove was trying to ‘muscle in’ on Ms Patel’s scheme.  







Ambassador to Afghanistan Sir Laurie Bristow exits a plane after being evacuated from Kabul

Ambassador to Afghanistan Sir Laurie Bristow exits a plane after being evacuated from Kabul

Ambassador to Afghanistan Sir Laurie Bristow exits a plane after being evacuated from Kabul

Members of the British armed forces 16 Air Assault Brigade walk to the air terminal after departing a flight from Afghanistan at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire

Members of the British armed forces 16 Air Assault Brigade walk to the air terminal after departing a flight from Afghanistan at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire

Members of the British armed forces 16 Air Assault Brigade walk to the air terminal after departing a flight from Afghanistan at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire

The last UK rescue plane from Kabul landed in RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire this morning

The last UK rescue plane from Kabul landed in RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire this morning

The last UK rescue plane from Kabul landed in RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire this morning

Video and pictures from inside military aircraft shared online by The Parachute Regiment (pictured) showed British troops leaving the Afghan capital, and the Ministry of Defence told the MailOnline that soldiers were in the process of being withdrawn, although could not confirm the veracity of the footage

Video and pictures from inside military aircraft shared online by The Parachute Regiment (pictured) showed British troops leaving the Afghan capital, and the Ministry of Defence told the MailOnline that soldiers were in the process of being withdrawn, although could not confirm the veracity of the footage

Video and pictures from inside military aircraft shared online by The Parachute Regiment (pictured) showed British troops leaving the Afghan capital, and the Ministry of Defence told the MailOnline that soldiers were in the process of being withdrawn, although could not confirm the veracity of the footage

Pictured: A photograph shared by the official Twitter account of The Parachute Regiment shows soldiers on a military aircraft purportedly being withdrawn from Afghanistan on Saturday

Pictured: A photograph shared by the official Twitter account of The Parachute Regiment shows soldiers on a military aircraft purportedly being withdrawn from Afghanistan on Saturday

Pictured: A photograph shared by the official Twitter account of The Parachute Regiment shows soldiers on a military aircraft purportedly being withdrawn from Afghanistan on Saturday

Pictured: A handout picture provided by the British Ministry of Defence (MOD) shows UK military personnel onboard a A400M aircraft departing Kabul, Afghanistan, 28 August 2021, as part of Operation Pitting

Pictured: A handout picture provided by the British Ministry of Defence (MOD) shows UK military personnel onboard a A400M aircraft departing Kabul, Afghanistan, 28 August 2021, as part of Operation Pitting

Pictured: A handout picture provided by the British Ministry of Defence (MOD) shows UK military personnel onboard a A400M aircraft departing Kabul, Afghanistan, 28 August 2021, as part of Operation Pitting

Boris Johnson has described Britain's hasty scuttle from Afghanistan as 'the culmination of a mission unlike anything we've seen in our lifetimes'

Boris Johnson has described Britain's hasty scuttle from Afghanistan as 'the culmination of a mission unlike anything we've seen in our lifetimes'

Boris Johnson has described Britain’s hasty scuttle from Afghanistan as ‘the culmination of a mission unlike anything we’ve seen in our lifetimes’








Members of the British armed forces 16 Air Assault Brigade depart a flight from Afghanistan at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire

Members of the British armed forces 16 Air Assault Brigade depart a flight from Afghanistan at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire

Members of the British armed forces 16 Air Assault Brigade depart a flight from Afghanistan at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire

In this handout photo provided by the Ministry of Defence, UK military personnel onboard a A400M aircraft departing Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, August 28, 2021

In this handout photo provided by the Ministry of Defence, UK military personnel onboard a A400M aircraft departing Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, August 28, 2021

In this handout photo provided by the Ministry of Defence, UK military personnel onboard a A400M aircraft departing Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, August 28, 2021








Kabul animal rescuer Pen Farthing is accused of ‘costing lives’ as recording reveals his foul-mouthed rant threatening to ‘f***ing destroy’ an MoD official in the middle of Afghanistan airlift 

A former Royal Marine who founded an animal shelter in Kabul ‘cost lives’ as a result of his mission to evacuate 173 cats and dogs from Afghanistan, senior defence sources said last night.

Pen Farthing, who flew back to the UK last night with his menagerie of animals rescued by the Nowzad charity, has also been accused of ‘bullying’ British Government officials.

A leaked voice message obtained by The Mail on Sunday has revealed the behind-the-scenes bitterness over the airlift, with Mr Farthing telling an Ministry of Defence official that he would ‘spend the rest of my time f****** destroying’ him if he did not secure clearance for a flight out of the country.

The official, Peter Quentin, an adviser to Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, is understood to have also received death threats from supporters of Mr Farthing as a result of his involvement in the animal rescue.

On the recording, which was shared by officials as part of an investigation into the alleged threats, Mr Farthing can be heard demanding ‘an ISAF number’ – a military callsign which has not been in use since 2014 – for a charter plane to take him, his animals and staff out of the Afghan capital.

Mr Farthing’s publicity campaign has angered the MoD because of the distraction it has provided from the ‘core mission’ of airlifting refugees. 

A defence source said: ‘This selfish charade has cost lives.’ Another source said the MoD’s help to evacuate animals meant ‘this is the first British Government explicitly committed to the idea of non-white people as equivalent to animals since the abolition of slavery.’

Yesterday, senior Tory MP and former soldier Tom Tugendhat issued a withering condemnation of the way MoD resources had been used for the animal evacuation.

Mr Tugendhat, who served in Afghanistan, revealed how his former interpreter, who is now stuck in Kabul, asked him: ‘Why is my five-year-old worth less than your dog?

‘I didn’t have an answer,’ he says.

The MP, who is chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, told LBC: ‘People have been focusing on the aeroplanes. It’s not the aeroplanes that are the problem. There’s quite a lot of space on the aeroplanes. 

They are coming and going relatively easily. The difficulty is getting people into and out of the airport.

‘And we have just used a lot of troops to bring in 200 dogs. Meanwhile, my interpreter’s family are likely to be killed. We run an NHS in the UK that taxes us all about one in seven pounds we spend. What would you say if I sent an ambulance to save my dog rather than to save your mother?’

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Speaking at RAF Brize Norton, Vice-Admiral Ben Key, Chief of Joint Operations, who commands Operation Pitting, said: ‘Although the United Kingdom’s Operation Pitting finishes today, of course the United States are still engaged in their own withdrawal and I would be very nervous in saying we had completed a successful withdrawal from Afghanistan until all our allies and partners have returned.

‘The United States has provided the framework for security in Kabul as part of a huge international effort and so operations continue even if the UK’s particular contribution concludes today.’

On the fact that not everyone eligible for evacuation from Kabul could be rescued, he said: ‘That is both true and a matter of great sadness for all of us that have been involved in this.

‘Whilst we recognise and I pay testament to the achievement of everything that has been achieved by coalition forces, but particularly the British contingent, over the last two weeks, in the end we know that there are some really sad stories of people who have desperately tried to leave that we have – no matter how hard our efforts – we have been unsuccessful in evacuating.’

Vice-Admiral Key added: ‘There has been a phenomenal effort achieved in the last two weeks. And I think we always knew that somewhere we would fall just short.

‘So, this isn’t a moment of celebration for us at all, this is a moment to mark a tremendous international effort to evacuate as many people as we could in the time available.

‘That sense of sadness that we haven’t done all we would have wished and we will continue to work … in the future with the next leadership of Afghanistan, with the Taliban, and others to make sure those who would wish to come back to his country continue to have an opportunity to do so.

‘Sadly, we have just not been able to evacuate them under this framework.’

Speaking to the PA news agency, Vice-Admiral Key said pictures from the airlifts showed UK service personnel were ‘deeply tired’ having ‘given their all over the last two weeks’.

He said: ‘Some of the pictures that have come back in the last few days have painted a really good impression of just how desperate and difficult those conditions have been in the last few weeks.

‘The pictures of them sitting in the aircraft coming back, these are deeply tired people who have given of their all over the last two weeks. They have travelled with very little equipment – we didn’t allow them to carry much kit – and in many cases they have lived in the clothes they have been wearing for many days.

‘They have been sleeping in rough conditions, eating off ration packs and their sole motivation has been to help as many of the Afghans and British entitled personnel as they possibly could.

‘It’s been a combination of deep professionalism, considerable courage, really sophisticated judgment and, on occasion, huge compassion, and it’s been difficult for those of us back here not to just have the most enormous admiration for what they’ve done and how they’ve gone about it.’

Vice-Admiral Key continued: ‘Am I optimistic for the future? I think I watch with interest. I am hopeful the investment we have made will grow into greater things, but I don’t think there’s any of us would say the last 20 years have not been worth it.’

On the evacuation effort, he said: ‘Of course we would have liked (more time) because then we could have brought more people out.

‘It would have allowed us to pull in those people who we know were still trying to get across from the city to the airport.

‘It would have given us a chance to really make sure we had reached out to those who had helped us so wonderfully and courageously over the last 20 years.

‘But the truth is no more time was granted to us by the Taliban, who were very clear that by the end of August not only had the evacuation had to be completed but we, the western militaries, had all withdrawn as well.

‘I don’t think there is a single person deployed forward, whether the thousand or so in Kabul or the many hundreds of others drawn across from Her Majesty’s Government in the Middle East or back here, who could have given more in the last two, two-and-a-half, weeks.

‘The effort has been, frankly, truly humbling to see hours worked with exhaustion painted on people’s faces, so we tried our best, we have absolutely tried our best.’

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

A former head of the British Army has said it was ‘unfathomable why it would appear that the Government was asleep on watch’ in relation to the protection of Afghans who helped soldiers and officials.

Speaking on Times Radio, General Lord Richard Dannatt said: ‘On the particular issue of those who we knew were in danger, people who had worked for us, interpreters, former locally-engaged civilians, this issue has been in the media.

‘This issue has been on politicians’ desks for two to three years and, certainly, it’s been there during the course of this year.

‘I mean, you might remember, back in July, 45 senior officers wrote to the Government, an open letter to the Government, saying there are people we are concerned about and if we don’t do the right thing, their blood will be on our hands. It is unfathomable why it would appear that the Government was asleep on watch.

‘I think the issue of Afghanistan sat on the backburner. Maybe it started to come forward. But then, suddenly, when the Taliban took over the country in the precipitate fashion in which they did, it fell off the cooker straight onto the kitchen floor and we’ve … had this chaotic extraction.

‘We should have done better, we could have done better. It absolutely behoves us to find out why the Government didn’t spark up faster.’

Conservative MP and veteran Tobias Ellwood said the UK had ‘very little to show’ for 20 years in Afghanistan. The chairman of the Commons Defence Select Committee told LBC: ‘Our armed forces performed so valiantly but they were let down by their political masters.

The last Afghan evacuee saved by British troops: Paras helped interpreter climb over fence in final mission launched by MoD officials angry that Pen Farthing’s pets had been saved while people remained stranded 

British troops helped the last Afghan evacuee climb over a barbed wire fence into Kabul airport, it has been revealed today.

The rescue of Sayed – along with his wife, their three-month-old baby and three-year-old son – came as officials complained Pen Farthing’s pets had been saved while interpreters remained stranded.

Sayed, a 32-year-old interpreter who was blown up while working for the UK in 2011, became the last person who served along-side British forces to be allowed inside Kabul airport and processed for a flight to the UK, The Sunday Times reported.

The rescue of Sayed and his family was ordered by senior figures inside the Ministry of Defence (MoD) after the gates to the airport were closed to new arrivals.

Before his escape, the Afghan father had spent more than four days trying to find a way to the airport’s Abbey Gate where British troops were clearing those who were eligible for sanctuary in the UK.

Despite being part of the crowd ordered to leave by the Taliban, who now control Kabul and most of Afghanistan following their take-over this month, Sayed told the newspaper that he stood his ground refusing to give up hope.

 The interpreter stood in the baking sun for hours wading through sewage, all while holding his young daughter, but after reaching the correct gate he was not called forward.

MoD officials – frustrated that Mr Farthing’s animals were being saved while Afghans loyal to Britain were set to be left behind – picked up Sayed’s case.

Despite the gates to the airport officially being closed to prepare for the final evacuation flights from Kabul, British troops were ordered to find him.

On Friday night, Sayed received a call from a British interpreter to take a taxi to the airport and once again go to the gate.

He said he had to walk 30 minutes after the taxi ride to reach the gate, where he found that there was another large crowd.

Sayed was once again called by the interpreter, who told him to leave the crowd and signalled him with a light.

‘When I reached the light the British forces took me and my family over the barbed wire. It was amazing, I am happy now,’ he told The Sunday Times. ‘I thank everyone who worked hard for my family.’

Sayed worked with UK forces for three years. He was given permission to come to the UK months ago, but his baby was born before the flight meaning officials required more paperwork.

 

 

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‘We lacked the strategy, the statecraft, the patience to see through, and the manner of our departure is a humiliation, a confirmation of our diminished resolve, and our adversaries will not be slow to exploit it.’

He warned that ‘terrorism will raise its ugly face again’ and ‘until we defeat this ideology, we can have as many drone strikes as we like, we can invade as many countries as we like, we will never win’.

Mr Ellwood added: ‘Unfortunately, we’ve made the situation worse, by absenting ourselves from the very place where it’s now very easy for terrorist groups to do their work.’

Mr Johnson said: ‘Twenty years ago, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the first British soldier set foot on Afghan soil aiming to create a brighter future for the country and all its people. The departure of the last British soldiers from the country is a moment to reflect on everything we have sacrificed and everything we have achieved in the last two decades.

‘The nature of our engagement in Afghanistan may have changed, but our goals for the country have not. We will now use all the diplomatic and humanitarian tools at our disposal to preserve the gains of the last 20 years and give the Afghan people the future they deserve.’ 

The final flight from Kabul marks the end of a fraught period for Mr Johnson’s administration. Footage purporting to show British troops inside a military aircraft as it left Kabul was last night posted on social media.

Despite the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, a Government source insisted: ‘We intend to re-establish our diplomatic presence in Kabul as soon as the security and political situation in the country allows and are co-ordinating this effort with allies.’

By yesterday afternoon, the number of Afghans brought to the UK had reached 10,000 – double the number anticipated, with the UK evacuating more people than any country apart from the US.     

Video and pictures from inside military aircraft shared online by The Parachute Regiment on Saturday showed British troops leaving the Afghan capital.

The Ministry of Defence, which also later released its own images, told the MailOnline that soldiers were in the process of being withdrawn.

The footage, along with pictures of British solders on military aircraft, was shared by the official Twitter account of The Parachute Regiment on Saturday at 12:25pm GMT (16:55pm in Afghanistan). 

The video showed smiling soldiers sitting on the floor of the aircraft listening to ‘Ride of the Valkyries’, while the pictures – taken in the dark – showed troops sitting and facing the front of the aircraft.  

Thousands of refugees have been unable to get to the Taliban-guarded airport or are too fearful to do so for the constant threat of terrorism. On Thursday, an ISIS suicide bomber killed at least 170 people, including 13 U.S. soldiers, two Britons and the child of a UK national outside the airport walls. 

Meanwhile, it was reported that the Taliban had sealed off Kabul’s airport to most Afghans hoping for evacuation, as most Nato nations flew out their troops after two decades in Afghanistan, winding down a frantic airlift that Western leaders acknowledged was still leaving many of their citizens and local allies behind.

The Pentagon announced yesterday it carried out a retaliatory drone strike that killed two ISIS ‘planners and facilitators’ and wounded another militant in Nangahar province, eastern Afghanistan. 

Washington described them as ‘high profile ISIS targets’ but would not specify their roles in the airport bombing. 

Britain’s last flight with military and official personnel is expected to land later today ahead of the Tuesday withdrawal deadline agreed by the U.S. and the Taliban.

Gen. Sir Nick Carter said: ‘We should be holding our breath and thinking really hard of that last aeroplane.’

U.S. troops now face a ‘very difficult’ few days acting as the ‘rear guard’ to the withdrawal, he added.  It has also emerged that British troops helped the last Afghan evacuee climb over a barbed wire fence into Kabul airport, it has been revealed today.

The rescue of Sayed – along with his wife, their three-month-old baby and three-year-old son – came as officials complained Pen Farthing’s pets had been saved while interpreters remained stranded.

Sayed, a 32-year-old interpreter who was blown up while working for the UK in 2011, became the last person who served along-side British forces to be allowed inside Kabul airport and processed for a flight to the UK, The Sunday Times reported.

The rescue of Sayed and his family was ordered by senior figures inside the Ministry of Defence (MoD) after the gates to the airport were closed to new arrivals.

Before his escape, the Afghan father had spent more than four days trying to find a way to the airport’s Abbey Gate where British troops were clearing those who were eligible for sanctuary in the UK.

Despite being part of the crowd ordered to leave by the Taliban, who now control Kabul and most of Afghanistan following their take-over this month, Sayed told the newspaper that he stood his ground refusing to give up hope.

The interpreter stood in the baking sun for hours wading through sewage, all while holding his young daughter, but after reaching the correct gate he was not called forward.

After Thursday evening’s suicide bombing that killed an estimated 170 people, he and his family were forced to give up hope and return to their home.

Speaking earlier this week, Sayed had said that it hurt that his name was not called at the gate after working for Britain as an interpreter. 








Pictured: Taliban Badri fighters, a 'special forces' unit equipped with US gear, stand guard as Afghan wait at the main entrance gate of Kabul airport on Friday

Pictured: Taliban Badri fighters, a 'special forces' unit equipped with US gear, stand guard as Afghan wait at the main entrance gate of Kabul airport on Friday

Pictured: Taliban Badri fighters, a ‘special forces’ unit equipped with US gear, stand guard as Afghan wait at the main entrance gate of Kabul airport on Friday

Pictured: Two Taliban fighters patrol in Kabul, Afghanistan on Saturday, August 28 as operations by foreign countries to get their citizens out of the country come to an end

Pictured: Two Taliban fighters patrol in Kabul, Afghanistan on Saturday, August 28 as operations by foreign countries to get their citizens out of the country come to an end

Pictured: Two Taliban fighters patrol in Kabul, Afghanistan on Saturday, August 28 as operations by foreign countries to get their citizens out of the country come to an end

Pictured: Five Taliban fighters carrying weapons ride in the back of a truck as they patrol Kabul on August 28, 2021

Pictured: Five Taliban fighters carrying weapons ride in the back of a truck as they patrol Kabul on August 28, 2021

Pictured: Five Taliban fighters carrying weapons ride in the back of a truck as they patrol Kabul on August 28, 2021

Taliban members stand guard at a checkpoint around Hamid Karzai International Airport, the centre of evacuation efforts from Afghanistan since the Taliban took over, after yesterday's explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 28, 2021. The picture shows a U.S. military Humvee that has been seized by the Taliban

Taliban members stand guard at a checkpoint around Hamid Karzai International Airport, the centre of evacuation efforts from Afghanistan since the Taliban took over, after yesterday's explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 28, 2021. The picture shows a U.S. military Humvee that has been seized by the Taliban

Taliban members stand guard at a checkpoint around Hamid Karzai International Airport, the centre of evacuation efforts from Afghanistan since the Taliban took over, after yesterday’s explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 28, 2021. The picture shows a U.S. military Humvee that has been seized by the Taliban

Pictured: The aftermath of Thursday's suicide bombing, which killed 170 people including three Britons and 13 U.S. soldiers

Pictured: The aftermath of Thursday's suicide bombing, which killed 170 people including three Britons and 13 U.S. soldiers

Pictured: The aftermath of Thursday’s suicide bombing, which killed 170 people including three Britons and 13 U.S. soldiers








Afghan woman gives birth on evacuation flight to UK

Cradles in a red airline blanket, this little girl was born at 33,000ft while on an evacuation flight to the UK yesterday.

Her Afghan mother, Soman Noori, was on the flight from Dubai to Birmingham – having previously left Kabul – when she went into labour.

There was no doctor on board, forcing the Turkish Airlines cabin crew to deliver the baby girl in airspace over Kuwait. She has been named Havva, which translates to Eve in English.

Havva is the third child of Ms Noori, 26, and her 30-year-old husband, Taj Moh Hammat. Turkish Airlines said mother and baby were healthy, and although the plane landed in Kuwait as a precaution, it continued on its route to Birmingham and landed at 11.45am.

Video footage shows Havva sleeping in her mother’s arms before being cooed over by cabin crew.

Ms Noori is not the first woman to give birth while fleeing Afghanistan after the Taliban returned to power.

An unnamed woman gave birth last week on a US military plane that had just landed in Germany. She named her Reach, after the aircraft’s call sign.

Pictured: Air crew hold baby Havva who was born on an evacuation flight destined for Birmingham

Pictured: Air crew hold baby Havva who was born on an evacuation flight destined for Birmingham

Pictured: Air crew hold baby Havva who was born on an evacuation flight destined for Birmingham

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‘I always put my life in danger to save British troops because we were living as brothers,’ he said, according to The Sunday Times. ‘But now that we need them the most, no one will hear us.’

During the time in which Sayed was trying to escape the capital via the airport, former British Marine Paul ‘Pen’ Farthing’s campaign to put pressure on officials to allow him to fly to Britain with over 180 rescue animals succeeded.

While gaining huge support, the campaign led by the founder of the Nowzad animal shelter was also accused of taking up resources that could have been used to evacuate more people from Kabul.

MoD officials – frustrated that Mr Farthing’s animals were being saved while Afghans loyal to Britain were set to be left behind – picked up Sayed’s case.

Despite the gates to the airport officially being closed to prepare for the final evacuation flights from Kabul, British troops were ordered to find him.

On Friday night, Sayed received a call from a British interpreter to take a taxi to the airport and once again go to the gate. He said he had to walk 30 minutes after the taxi ride to reach the gate, where he found that there was another large crowd.

Sayed was once again called by the interpreter, who told him to leave the crowd and signalled him with a light.

‘When I reached the light the British forces took me and my family over the barbed wire. It was amazing, I am happy now,’ he told The Sunday Times. ‘I thank everyone who worked hard for my family.’ 

Sayed worked with UK forces for three years. He was given permission to come to the UK months ago, but his baby was born before the flight meaning officials required more paperwork.

As the Taliban swept across the country and seized Kabul, the family’s passports were with the British embassy, leading to further delays.

But after a 100-hour battle to get him out of the capital before it became impossible, Sayed and his family are on their way to start a new life in the UK.

‘I think our American allies are going to be very challenged because the threat from ISIS-K has not gone away and of course there are still lots of desperate Afghans trying to get out,’ Sir Nick said.    

General Sir Richard Barrons warned that ISIS now posed a threat which reached beyond Afghanistan to the UK. 

‘What [the suicide bombing] does do is illustrate that Isis-K is a risk to the United Kingdom, here at home, and to our interests abroad,’ the general said.

‘We’re going to find common cause with the US, and indeed I think the Taliban, in bearing down on this terrible organisation for as long as it takes to neuter them.’  

The MoD said last night that 14,543 people had now been extracted from Kabul since August 13, a mix of Afghan and British nationals, and that now the focus would turn to getting diplomats and service personnel out. 

Some 8,000 of those were Afghans and their families under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (Arap) scheme, which applies to those who helped the UK and are at risk of persecution by the Taliban. 

Tory MP and Afghan veteran Tom Tugenhadt said people should ‘forget’ about getting to Kabul and attempting to fly from the airport, due to the numerous dangerous checkpoints that have been installed along the motorways.

He told BBC Breakfast: ‘Forget about getting to Kabul. You know there’s 10 checkpoints between them on the motorway, let alone down the motorway, all the way to Kabul.

‘You can absolutely forget about trying to get to the airport because every one of those checkpoints has a danger point where Taliban or indeed affiliated groups, drug dealers or just simply bandits could murder, and certainly have, been murdering various people.’

The chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee added: ‘I’m extremely sad about this and I very much hope that it might go beyond the August deadline but we found out a few days ago that it wasn’t, so I was expecting it.

‘It still leaves me extremely sad that so many of my friends have been left behind.’

Questioned over whether the UK could have done better when withdrawing personnel from Afghanistan, Mr Tugendhat said: ‘In the last week, probably not, but this has been a sprint finish after a not exactly sprint start.’

‘There are going to be questions to be asked to the Foreign Secretary about the processing in the UK in recent weeks that we’re going to have to see what the answers are.’ 








Afghans queue at the main entrance gate of Kabul airport hoping to leave Afghanistan in Kabul on Saturday. The last UK flight carrying civilians left last night. All further British planes will be carrying military and diplomatic personnel

Afghans queue at the main entrance gate of Kabul airport hoping to leave Afghanistan in Kabul on Saturday. The last UK flight carrying civilians left last night. All further British planes will be carrying military and diplomatic personnel

Afghans queue at the main entrance gate of Kabul airport hoping to leave Afghanistan in Kabul on Saturday. The last UK flight carrying civilians left last night. All further British planes will be carrying military and diplomatic personnel

Afghans boarding an Italian plane at 3pm on Friday, the C-130J jet took off from Kabul with the last 58 Afghan citizens on board who were due to arrive in Italy at the Fiumicino airport early Saturday

Afghans boarding an Italian plane at 3pm on Friday, the C-130J jet took off from Kabul with the last 58 Afghan citizens on board who were due to arrive in Italy at the Fiumicino airport early Saturday

Afghans boarding an Italian plane at 3pm on Friday, the C-130J jet took off from Kabul with the last 58 Afghan citizens on board who were due to arrive in Italy at the Fiumicino airport early Saturday

Afghan evacuees sit inside one of the last Italy's military aircrafts

Afghan evacuees sit inside one of the last Italy's military aircrafts

Afghan civilians being evacuated by an Italian jet

Afghan civilians being evacuated by an Italian jet

Afghan civilians in Italian military planes (left and right) on Saturday. They will be among the last to leave as the Tuesday deadline looms

Afghan evacuees queue before boarding one of the last Italy's military aircraft C130J during evacuation at Kabul airport on Friday

Afghan evacuees queue before boarding one of the last Italy's military aircraft C130J during evacuation at Kabul airport on Friday

Afghan evacuees queue before boarding one of the last Italy’s military aircraft C130J during evacuation at Kabul airport on Friday

A Taliban fighter guards the airport as desperate Afghans try to escape their brutal reign

A Taliban fighter guards the airport as desperate Afghans try to escape their brutal reign

A Taliban fighter guards the airport as desperate Afghans try to escape their brutal reign

A Taliban Badri fighter, a "special forces" unit, stands guard as Afghans walk to the main entrance gate of Kabul airport

A Taliban Badri fighter, a "special forces" unit, stands guard as Afghans walk to the main entrance gate of Kabul airport

A Taliban Badri fighter, a ‘special forces’ unit, stands guard as Afghans walk to the main entrance gate of Kabul airport

Afghan evacuees queue before boarding one of the last Italy's military aircraft C130J during evacuation at Kabul's airport on Friday

Afghan evacuees queue before boarding one of the last Italy's military aircraft C130J during evacuation at Kabul's airport on Friday

Afghan evacuees queue before boarding one of the last Italy’s military aircraft C130J during evacuation at Kabul’s airport on Friday

Members of the British armed forces 16 Air Assault Brigade walk to the air terminal after disembarking a RAF Voyager aircraft at Brize Norton on Saturday

Members of the British armed forces 16 Air Assault Brigade walk to the air terminal after disembarking a RAF Voyager aircraft at Brize Norton on Saturday

Members of the British armed forces 16 Air Assault Brigade walk to the air terminal after disembarking a RAF Voyager aircraft at Brize Norton on Saturday








British troops from 16 Air Assault Brigade walk off the runway after arriving back at RAF Brize Norton on Saturday

British troops from 16 Air Assault Brigade walk off the runway after arriving back at RAF Brize Norton on Saturday

British troops from 16 Air Assault Brigade walk off the runway after arriving back at RAF Brize Norton on Saturday

Taliban leaders hold a celebratory summit in Lashkar Gah, Helmand province, on Saturday to mark their victory

Taliban leaders hold a celebratory summit in Lashkar Gah, Helmand province, on Saturday to mark their victory

Taliban leaders hold a celebratory summit in Lashkar Gah, Helmand province, on Saturday to mark their victory








Afghan evacuee Soman Noori holds her newborn baby girl named Havva on board an evacuation flight operated by Turkish Airlines from Dubai to Britain's Birmingham, August 28, 2021

Afghan evacuee Soman Noori holds her newborn baby girl named Havva on board an evacuation flight operated by Turkish Airlines from Dubai to Britain's Birmingham, August 28, 2021

Pictured: Baby Havva who was born on an evacuation flight destined for Birmingham with the crew. Soman Noori, 26, an Afghan refugee fleeing to the UK was travelling on an evacuation flight from Dubai to Birmingham

Pictured: Baby Havva who was born on an evacuation flight destined for Birmingham with the crew. Soman Noori, 26, an Afghan refugee fleeing to the UK was travelling on an evacuation flight from Dubai to Birmingham

Left: Afghan evacuee Soman Noori holds her newborn baby girl named Havva on board an evacuation flight operated by Turkish Airlines from Dubai to Britain’s Birmingham, August 28, 2021. Right: Baby Havva who was born on an evacuation flight destined for Birmingham with the crew. Soman Noori, 26, an Afghan refugee fleeing to the UK was travelling on an evacuation flight from Dubai to Birmingham








Pictured: Afghan people wait to enter Pakistan through Chaman border crossing in Chaman, Pakistan on August 28, 2021

Pictured: Afghan people wait to enter Pakistan through Chaman border crossing in Chaman, Pakistan on August 28, 2021

Pictured: Afghan people wait to enter Pakistan through Chaman border crossing in Chaman, Pakistan on August 28, 2021

Pictured: Pakistani soldiers check documents of Afghan people before entering Pakistan through Chaman border crossing in Chaman, Pakistan on August 28, 2021

Pictured: Pakistani soldiers check documents of Afghan people before entering Pakistan through Chaman border crossing in Chaman, Pakistan on August 28, 2021

Pictured: Pakistani soldiers check documents of Afghan people before entering Pakistan through Chaman border crossing in Chaman, Pakistan on August 28, 2021

Pictured: Afghan people wait to enter Pakistan through Chaman border crossing in Chaman, Pakistan on August 28, 2021

Pictured: Afghan people wait to enter Pakistan through Chaman border crossing in Chaman, Pakistan on August 28, 2021

Pictured: Afghan people wait to enter Pakistan through Chaman border crossing in Chaman, Pakistan on August 28, 2021

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace previously admitted there were between 800 and 1,100 Afghans eligible under the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (Arap) scheme who would be left behind, while around 100 and 150 UK nationals will remain in Afghanistan, although Mr Wallace said some of those were staying willingly.

But a number of MPs have said that based on the correspondence they had received asking for help, they thought this was an underestimation.

Shadow defence secretary John Healey said: ‘This is the brutal truth, despite getting more than 14,000 people out, there are probably 1,000 Afghans who have worked with us over two decades in Afghanistan, helped our troops, our aid workers, our diplomats, that we promised to protect, but we’re leaving behind.

‘And I know those troops in particular will feel our failure on this as a country is a betrayal of many of those who risked their own lives to work alongside us.

‘And I think what’s important now is that we may be giving up the airport, but we cannot give up on the Afghan people or fighting to try and protect the gains that they and our troops and our diplomats and aid workers have worked so hard over two decades to gain in Afghanistan.’ 

Mr Johnson has admitted he felt a ‘great sense of regret’ about the many hundreds that UK forces had been unable to evacuate from Kabul. 

Tom Tugendhat, the chair of the Foreign Affairs committee, said the fact people would be left behind filled him with ‘anger and shame’ and warned ‘we may find ourselves with the biggest hostage crisis the UK has ever seen.’ 

‘Quite rightly, British citizens and entitled persons are literally in fear of their lives right now.’

The former Army Lieutenant Colonel is one of a growing number of MPs from across the political spectrum to have accused the Government of ‘failing’ in its mission to keep Afghan staff safe by not completing the evacuations.

Mr Tugendhat added: ‘Defeat means you don’t get a say… we have just been defeated, we have no influence over Kabul anymore.’  

Displaced families living in tents in Kabul. The advance of the Taliban across the country has forced thousands to flee their homes - many had headed for the relative safety of the capital only for it also to fall

Displaced families living in tents in Kabul. The advance of the Taliban across the country has forced thousands to flee their homes - many had headed for the relative safety of the capital only for it also to fall

Displaced families living in tents in Kabul. The advance of the Taliban across the country has forced thousands to flee their homes – many had headed for the relative safety of the capital only for it also to fall

Displaced women and children liiving in tents in Kabul after they were forced to flee their homes

Displaced women and children liiving in tents in Kabul after they were forced to flee their homes

Displaced women and children liiving in tents in Kabul after they were forced to flee their homes

Pictured: Afghan collaborators, their families, Spanish soldiers and members of the embassy board a Spanish military plane as part of their evacuation, at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 27, 2021

Pictured: Afghan collaborators, their families, Spanish soldiers and members of the embassy board a Spanish military plane as part of their evacuation, at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 27, 2021

Pictured: Afghan collaborators, their families, Spanish soldiers and members of the embassy board a Spanish military plane as part of their evacuation, at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 27, 2021

Pictured: An Afghan man hands his child to a British Paratrooper assigned to 2nd Battalion, Parachute Regiment while a member of 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division conducts security at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug 26, 2021

Pictured: An Afghan man hands his child to a British Paratrooper assigned to 2nd Battalion, Parachute Regiment while a member of 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division conducts security at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug 26, 2021

Pictured: An Afghan man hands his child to a British Paratrooper assigned to 2nd Battalion, Parachute Regiment while a member of 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division conducts security at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug 26, 2021

British troops were seen securing the perimeter outside the Baron Hotel, near the Abbey Gate in Kabul on Thursday following the bombing

British troops were seen securing the perimeter outside the Baron Hotel, near the Abbey Gate in Kabul on Thursday following the bombing

British troops were seen securing the perimeter outside the Baron Hotel, near the Abbey Gate in Kabul on Thursday following the bombing

Pictured: Muhammad Niazi, a British Afghan who travelled there from London to help his family

Pictured: Muhammad Niazi, a British Afghan who travelled there from London to help his family

Pictured: One of Mr Niazi's daughters

Pictured: One of Mr Niazi's daughters

Pictured left: Muhammad Niazi, a British Afghan who travelled there from London to help his family. Pictured right: One of Mr Niazi’s daughters. As of last night, his wife, youngest child and eldest daughter were still missing, according to the broadcaster, with his brother and survivor of the blast – Abdul Hamid – saying ‘I saw some children in the river’

ISIS-K, short for ISIS Khorasan Province, are believed to be operating in the east of Afghanistan on the border with Pakistan

ISIS-K, short for ISIS Khorasan Province, are believed to be operating in the east of Afghanistan on the border with Pakistan

ISIS-K, short for ISIS Khorasan Province, are believed to be operating in the east of Afghanistan on the border with Pakistan

And security sources said they feared that elements of the Taliban or Isis-K could capture vulnerable Afghans or UK citizens and demand a ransom. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke of his ‘great sense of regret’ at those left behind. He said: ‘Of course, as we come down to the final hours of the operation there will sadly be people who haven’t got through, people who might qualify.

‘What I would say to them is that we will shift heaven and earth to help them get out, we will do whatever we can in the second phase.’   

One of the victims of Thursday’s Kabul suicide bombing has been named as Muhammad Niazi, a British Afghan who travelled there from London to help his family at the airport, according to the BBC.

As of last night, his wife, youngest child and eldest daughter were still missing, with his brother and survivor of the blast, Abdul Hamid, telling the broadcaster: ‘I saw some small children in the river, it was so bad. It was doomsday for us.’  

According to The Daily Telegraph, Mr Niazi was a taxi driver from Aldershot who travelled to Afghanistan to rescue his family as the Taliban bore down on the city, and chaos led to scenes of mass panic at the airport. 

It is feared that his wife and two of their daughters were also caught up in the bombing, and possibly killed, and the couple’s other daughter and only son are understood to have been severely injured, the newspaper reported.

He is understood to have flown from Heathrow to Azerbaijan, before travelling to Afghanistan in an attempt to take his family to safety.

Imran Naizi, a friend and member of the same mosque as Muhammad Niazi (of no relation), told The Telegraph that the Afghan community and Aldershot are mourning the loss of a dedicated family man. 

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