UK is working ‘full speed’ to rescue 4,000 Brits and Afghans STILL stuck in Kabul

UK troops could ‘sneak out’ people from Afghanistan up to the very last moment despite warnings there are just 36 hours to get another 4,000 to safety – after Joe Biden sparked fury by refusing to extend the deadline for forces leaving. 

Dominic Raab admitted the evacuation mission is in its final desperate stages after the US president ‘point blank’ rejected G7 calls for a delay, arguing the risks of attack from the Taliban and ISIS were too high.

The decision means the airlift will have to stop tomorrow or Friday at the latest, to give Western forces time to wrap up their deployment. 

Former chief of the defence staff Lord Richards said he believes even after that the British military will ‘sneak others in who arrive late along with their own people’.  

But there are already claims that the Taliban is stopping fleeing Afghans from getting into the airport, and the coming days will see the ‘maximum danger’ for troops with fears the regime will want to create a ‘Saigon’ moment and threats of a terrorist ‘spectacular’. 

In a round of interviews this morning, Mr Raab said the UK is working ‘as fast as we can’ to maximise the number of people who can flee, saying 2,000 were taken to safety in the last 24 hours and almost all single-nationality Britons are now out.

‘We will use every hour and day we’ve got to maximise that throughput to get as many of those residual cases out,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programe.

‘We’re going to keep going for every day and every hour that we’ve got left.’

Mr Raab declined to say when the last UK flight will be leaving.  

Overnight the US President insisted his troops were ‘on pace’ to leave Afghanistan by August 31, after rebuffing pleas by Boris Johnson and other G7 leaders for America to extend its evacuation timetable.

However, in a live TV broadcast, he warned the Taliban must ‘continue to co-operate’ with the US’ evacuation mission in order for his troops to be out of Kabul by the end of this month.

It comes amid claims from people on the ground in Kabul that people are being blocked by Taliban fighters from accessing the city’s airport for evacuation. 

Yesterday the extremist Islamist group issued an edict banning Afghans from leaving the country. They also blocked roads and set up check-points around Kabul airport. 

It comes as:

  • Former military chiefs and Tory MPs have urged Boris Johnson to reverse military cuts saying the Afghanistan crisis shows they were a mistake; 
  • Dominic Raab has angrily denied that he was cavorting on a Crete beach while Afghanistan descended into chaos, saying the sea had been closed at his luxury holiday resort due to a ‘red notice’;
  • Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said former Royal Marine Paul ‘Pen’ Farthing will be allowed to fly his staff and rescue animals out of Kabul after initially refusing the request; 
  • Mr Johnson has pleaded with Taliban to continue to let people out of Afghanistan after August 31 and announced a ‘roadmap’ for dealing with new Islamist government;
  • Reports on the ground in Kabul suggested that Taliban fighters were stopping Westerners getting to Kabul airport after the extremist group announced a ban on Afghans leaving the country;
  • President Joe Biden told the Taliban he will stick to Aug 31 withdrawal deadline if they allow free access to Kabul airport.







The US President (pictured) insisted his troops were 'on pace' to leave Afghanistan by August 31, despite pleas by Boris Johnson and other G7 leaders for America to extend its evacuation timetable

The US President (pictured) insisted his troops were 'on pace' to leave Afghanistan by August 31, despite pleas by Boris Johnson and other G7 leaders for America to extend its evacuation timetable

Dominic Raab

Dominic Raab

Dominic Raab (right) admitted the evacuation mission is in its final desperate stages after US president Joe Biden (left) ‘point blank’ rejected G7 calls for a delay

Children waiting to be evacuated from Kabul as Western forces race against time to get nationals and allies out

Children waiting to be evacuated from Kabul as Western forces race against time to get nationals and allies out

Children waiting to be evacuated from Kabul as Western forces race against time to get nationals and allies out

People being taken out of Afghanistan on a Spanish military flight today as the clock runs down on the airlift

People being taken out of Afghanistan on a Spanish military flight today as the clock runs down on the airlift

People being taken out of Afghanistan on a Spanish military flight today as the clock runs down on the airlift 

It comes amid claims from people on the ground in Kabul that westerners were being blocked by Taliban fighters (pictured: Taliban fighters on top of containers near to British troops yesterday) from accessing the city’s airport for evacuation. Yesterday the extremist group issued an edict banning Afghans from leaving the country

This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies shows large crowds along the eastern edge of Kabul's international airport this week

This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies shows large crowds along the eastern edge of Kabul's international airport this week

This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies shows large crowds along the eastern edge of Kabul’s international airport this week








Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said former Royal Marine Paul 'Pen' Farthing will be allowed to fly his staff and rescue animals out of Kabul after initially refusing the request

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said former Royal Marine Paul 'Pen' Farthing will be allowed to fly his staff and rescue animals out of Kabul after initially refusing the request

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said former Royal Marine Paul ‘Pen’ Farthing will be allowed to fly his staff and rescue animals out of Kabul after initially refusing the request








Now Taliban fighters ‘stop Westerners getting to Kabul airport’ after they BANNED Afghans from leaving the country 

Westerners in Afghanistan are being ‘blocked from getting to Kabul airport’ by Taliban fighters after the extremist group banned locals from fleeing the country, according to people on the ground.

The militant group yesterday issued an edict saying only foreigners will be able to access the airport for evacuation.

A spokesperson for the group ordered locals to return home. Roads in the city have been blocked in a bid to stop Afghans from leaving.

In a fresh threat to the west, Zabihullah Mujahid, the Islamists’ chief spokesman, also said in a press conference yesterday the group will ‘not accept’ any extension to the deadline.

But while Mujahid said the foreigners would still be allowed to leave Afghanistan, reports today suggest American citizens are also being refused access to the airport.

Quoting ‘multiple sources’, Politico’s Alex Thompson said: ‘The Taliban has now started halting people trying to get in through the airport gates.

‘Not just Afghans but American citizens. Informal groups coordinating need to redirect people on the fly.’

There was also panic today as the US embassy reportedly issued a last call for its citizens to leave Afghanistan, only to then recall the warning minutes later.

Today, in a live TV address at the White House, Mr Biden confirmed the US is now ‘on pace to finish by August 31’.

He said more than 70,000 people been evacuated since August 14. And he said 12,000 people had been evacuated by western forces in the last 12 hours alone.

However he then turned the spotlight Taliban, who earlier today reiterated their insistence that western troops to leave by the end of this month, saying it was in the hands of the militants to allow the evacuation process to go smoothly.

Speaking during the conference, which he left without answering questions from reporters, President Biden said: ‘We (the G7) agreed we would continue our close co-operation to get people out as efficiently and safely as possible.

‘We are currently on pace to finish by August 31. The sooner we can finish the better. Each added day brings a risk to our troops.

But the completion by August 31 depends on the Taliban’s continued co-operation and allow access to the airport – no disruption to our operations.’

It comes as Taliban spokesman Mujahid said from now on only stranded foreigners will be able to reach the airport in the coming week to board Nato and Western planes.

He said: ‘The road to Kabul airport is closed for locals and open to foreigners.’

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With an American pull-out now likely to be complete by the end of the month, other countries, such as the UK, which are reliant on the air support from US troops, now face a race against time to complete their own evacuations.

Last night the Pentagon confirmed that several hundred US troops had already started leaving Afghanistan – and allies including the UK will want to have their troops out well before the US leaves. 

The UK could now wrap up its mission within ’24 to 36 hours’, defence sources said.

Mr Raab said he was unclear how many people will be left behind in Afghanistan.

The Foreign Secretary said the figure depends on ‘the window’ left in terms of timing and how many people they manage to process over the next few days.

He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: ‘It’s also how many want to come, as there are some finely balanced cases.’

Mr Raab said the details of how UK forces will withdraw were still being firmed up. There is speculation the British team will initially withdraw to the airport from the Baron hotel, where they have been processing applications. 

The UK contingent is then expected to hand over duties to the Americans, who will be the last to leave. 

‘The military planners are firming up the details of what the extra – the time they will need at the end to drawdown their own staff, personnel and equipment. We will get the details of that I’m sure, shortly,’ Mr Raab said.

‘We need to get that clear from the military planners, they are obviously working on that. Ideally we want to limit the period that they need for their drawdown to maximise the period for the civilian airlift, if you like. But that is something that they will need to provide the details on.’

Mr Raab tried to play down concerns about the Taliban obstructing extractions, saying that although trust was at ‘rock bottom’ there had been ‘constructive’ engagement.

‘They have, so far, in relation to the airport, behaved constructively and engaged constructively more or less.

‘There’s clearly reports and some of the people on the ground – roadblocks or elsewhere – are not following what the political leadership are requiring. But overall, one of the reasons that we have been able to get the numbers out through the evacuation is because we have engaged and they have lived up to some of the things that they have said.

‘We need to then set further tests for them and be very clear about what we are willing to do, if and only if they live up to their assurances.’

Mr Raab also declined to comment on whether British troops would return to Afghanistan in the future.

‘I’m not going to speculate on that while we’re in the middle of withdrawals,’ he said.

‘The United Kingdom retains the right to exercise self-defence in relation to our nationals in our country. We’re not getting into speculating about that.’

After the setback for the alliance with the US, Mr Raab suggested the UK is looking to ‘broaden the group of like-minded countries’ trying to rein in Taliban extremism in future. 

He told Times Radio: ‘I’ve been speaking to China, Pakistan, India and we’ll be trying to convene meetings of the permanent members of the Security Council to agree the contours for the way forward.

‘In terms of the leaders, we will use all the leaders at our disposal. Sanctions potentially, access to the international financial institutions… If they (the Taliban) want aid going into Afghanistan, it won’t go through the Taliban, they’ll have to provide a permissive environment for NGOs (non-governmental organisations) and the UN.’

It comes after Mr Johnson yesterday faced humiliation with Mr Biden shrugging off his pleas to extend the Kabul evacuation.

The Prime Minister, along with Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel, had used a G7 meeting to urge the US President to keep the operation going longer.

But Mr Biden reportedly rejected the request ‘point blank’. ‘Mr Biden made clear that it wasn’t a runner,’ a senior government source reportedly told The Telegraph last night. 

White House sources said Mr Biden had agreed with the Pentagon that there would be no change to the timeline of the mission. Press secretary Jen Psaki said the Pentagon was ‘on pace’ to withdraw by the deadline.

And Mr Biden later confirmed this in a TV address at the White House last night, saying the US was now ‘on pace to finish by August 31’. 

Mr Biden yesterday said more than 70,000 people been evacuated since August 14. And he said 12,000 people had been evacuated by western forces in the last 12 hours alone.

However the President turned the spotlight on the Taliban, who last night reiterated their insistence that western troops to leave by the end of this month, saying it was down to militants to allow the evacuation process to go smoothly.

He said the completion of operations in Kabul ‘depends upon the Taliban continuing to cooperate’, adding there will be contingency plans to ‘adjust the timetable should that become necessary’. 

Speaking during the conference, which he left without answering questions from reporters, President Biden said: ‘We (the G7) agreed we would continue our close co-operation to get people out as efficiently and safely as possible.

‘We are currently on pace to finish by August 31. The sooner we can finish the better. Each added day brings a risk to our troops. 

But the completion by August 31 depends on the Taliban’s continued co-operation and allow access to the airport – no disruption to our operations.’ 

He said the added risk came from a ‘very real’ threat from terrorist group ISIS K – a self-proclaimed branch of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant active in parts of Afghanistan.

It comes as a humiliated Mr Johnson said after the G7 summit that the UK will continue to conduct airlifts from the country ‘right up until the last moment’ as he pleaded with the Taliban to let people leave after the deadline.

He said the leaders had agreed that the ‘number one condition’ that the Taliban must meet moving forward is to ‘guarantee right the way through August 31 and beyond safe passage for those who want to come out’. 

But last night UK defence sources reportedly told the Guardian that the UK operation could be closed down within ’24-36 hours’.

It is understood that the US military needs between two and three days to close down its operations at Kabul airport.

And UK troops will have to be 24 hours ahead of that, in order to get Afghans and then themselves out safely before US troops depart. 

Meanwhile, Conservative MPs said the US’s decision to turn their back on the UK’s pleas mean the ‘special relationship’ was now over.  One Tory MP reportedly told the Guardian that US-UK relations were ‘about to enter their lowest point since Suez’.  

Despite the setback, Mr Johnson insisted the G7 nations have ‘huge leverage’ over the Taliban because of the threat of sanctions as he said funding for the country would only be made available in the future if it meets the West’s expectations. 

‘If those huge funds are going to be unfrozen eventually for use by the government and people of Afghanistan then what we are saying is Afghanistan can’t lurch back into becoming a breeding ground of terror, Afghanistan can’t become a narco state,’ he said.  

The comments came after the Taliban repeating blood-curdling warnings of consequences if there was an attempt to cling on, saying no-one will be permitted to leave. ‘All people should be removed prior to that date,’ a spokesman told a press conference in the capital. ‘After that we do not allow them. We will take a different stance.’ 








The White House tried to put a brave face on Joe Biden's position, saying the G7 had talked about the 'continuation of our close coordination'

The White House tried to put a brave face on Joe Biden's position, saying the G7 had talked about the 'continuation of our close coordination'

The White House tried to put a brave face on Joe Biden’s position, saying the G7 had talked about the ‘continuation of our close coordination’

Boris Johnson yesterday pleaded with the Taliban to allow people to leave Afghanistan after the US has completed its withdrawal on August 31

Boris Johnson yesterday pleaded with the Taliban to allow people to leave Afghanistan after the US has completed its withdrawal on August 31

Boris Johnson yesterday pleaded with the Taliban to allow people to leave Afghanistan after the US has completed its withdrawal on August 31

Joe Biden addresses a virtual meeting of G7 leaders this afternoon. He is said to have spoken for seven minutes

Joe Biden addresses a virtual meeting of G7 leaders this afternoon. He is said to have spoken for seven minutes

Joe Biden addresses a virtual meeting of G7 leaders this afternoon. He is said to have spoken for seven minutes 

A picture released by the German government of Angela Merkel taking part in the G7 discussion this afternoon

A picture released by the German government of Angela Merkel taking part in the G7 discussion this afternoon

A picture released by the German government of Angela Merkel taking part in the G7 discussion this afternoon

CIA Director William Burns testifies during his Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Feb. 24, 2021

CIA Director William Burns testifies during his Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Feb. 24, 2021

Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar speaks at a signing ceremony of the US-Taliban agreement in Qatar's capital of Doha on Feb. 29, 2020

Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar speaks at a signing ceremony of the US-Taliban agreement in Qatar's capital of Doha on Feb. 29, 2020

CIA Director William Burns (left) went to Kabul on Monday for a secret meeting with the Taliban’s de facto leader Abdul Ghani Baradar (right)

An aerial view shows the roads heading towards the airport near a Taliban airport filled with cars amid the chaotic rush to flee the country

An aerial view shows the roads heading towards the airport near a Taliban airport filled with cars amid the chaotic rush to flee the country

An aerial view shows the roads heading towards the airport near a Taliban airport filled with cars amid the chaotic rush to flee the country

Diplomats insist that the situation on the ground has improved since the weekend with more people being allowed into the airport, but satellite images showed huge crowds continuing to mass  

The US said some 16,000 people were flown out of Kabul between Sunday morning and Monday afternoon, with thousands more due to leave the country yesterday (pictured, a satellite image shows people boarding a military plane)

The US said some 16,000 people were flown out of Kabul between Sunday morning and Monday afternoon, with thousands more due to leave the country yesterday (pictured, a satellite image shows people boarding a military plane)

The US said some 16,000 people were flown out of Kabul between Sunday morning and Monday afternoon, with thousands more due to leave the country yesterday (pictured, a satellite image shows people boarding a military plane)

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, co-founder and head of the political office of the Taliban – Held for eight years in Pakistani prison before being released on orders from the U.S. government 

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, one of the co-founders of the Taliban and its deputy-leader, pictured on August 16 after the fall of Kabul, Afghanistan

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, one of the co-founders of the Taliban and its deputy-leader, pictured on August 16 after the fall of Kabul, Afghanistan

Pictured: Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, co-founder and deputy leader of the Taliban, makes a video statement on August 16 following the fall of Kabul

 Age: 53 years old

Taliban Rank: Co-founder, head of political office

Joined: 1994

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, one of the co-founders of the Taliban, was freed from jail in Pakistan three years ago at the request of the U.S. government.  

Just nine months ago, he posed for pictures with Donald Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to sign a peace deal in Doha which today lies in tatters.

On Sunday, his forces seized Kabul and he is now tipped to become Afghanistan’s next leader in a reversal of fortune which humiliates Washington.

While Haibatullah Akhundzada is the Taliban’s overall leader, Baradar is head of its political office and one of the most recognisable faces of the chiefs who have been involved in peace talks in Qatar.

His name Baradar means ‘brother’, a title which was conferred by Taliban founder Mullah Omar himself as a mark of affection.

The 53-year-old was deputy leader under ex-chief Mullah Mohammed Omar, whose support for Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden led to the US-led invasion of Afghanistan after 9/11. 

Baradar arrived in Kandahar Province on Tuesday, landing in the insurgent group’s former capital just days after they took control of the country.

A Taliban spokesman said on Twitter that Baradar and a high level delegation ‘reached their beloved country in the afternoon’ from Qatar. 

Born in Uruzgan province in 1968, Baradar was raised in Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban movement. He fought with the mujahideen against the Soviets in the 1980s until they were driven out in 1989.

Afterwards, Afghanistan was gripped by a blood civil war between rival warlords and Baradar set up an Islamic school in Kandahar with his former commander Mohammed Omar.

The two mullahs helped to found the Taliban movement, an ideology which embraced hardline orthodoxy and strived for the creation of an Islamic Emirate. 

Fuelled by zealotry, hatred of greedy warlords and with financial backing from Pakistan’s secret services, the Taliban seized power in 1996 after conquering provincial capitals before marching on Kabul, just as they have in recent months.

Baradar had a number of different roles during the Taliban’s five-year reign and was the deputy defence minister when the US invaded in 2001.  

He went into hiding but remained active in the Taliban’s leadership in exile.

In September 2020, Baradar was pictured with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who 'urged the Taliban to seize this opportunity to forge a political settlement and reach a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire,' the US said in a statement

In September 2020, Baradar was pictured with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who 'urged the Taliban to seize this opportunity to forge a political settlement and reach a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire,' the US said in a statement

In September 2020, Baradar was pictured with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who ‘urged the Taliban to seize this opportunity to forge a political settlement and reach a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire,’ the US said in a statement








In 2010, the CIA tracked him down to the Pakistani city of Karachi and in February of that year the Pakistani intelligence service (ISI) arrested him.

But in 2018, he was released at the request of the Trump administration as part of their ongoing negotiations with the Taliban in Qatar, on the understanding that he could help broker peace. 

In February 2020, Baradar signed the Doha Agreement in which the U.S. pledged to leave Afghanistan on the basis that the Taliban would enter into a power-sharing arrangement with President Ashraf Ghani’s government in Kabul.

He was pictured in September with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who ‘urged the Taliban to seize this opportunity to forge a political settlement and reach a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire,’ the US said in a statement.

Pompeo ‘welcomed Afghan leadership and ownership of the effort to end 40 years of war and ensure that Afghanistan is not a threat to the United States or its allies.’

The Doha deal was heralded as a momentous peace declaration but has been proved to be nothing but a ploy by the Taliban.

The jihadists waited until thousands of American troops had left before launching a major offensive to recapture the country, undoing two decades of work by the US-led coalition.

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