Extending Kabul evacuations ‘unlikely’; ‘Direct threat’ people found among evacuees In this handout image provided by the Ministry of Defence, a full flight of 265 people are evacuated out of Kabul by the UK Armed Forces on August 21, 2021 in Kabul, Afghanistan. The British armed forces are evacuating UK citizens and eligible personnel out of the Afghan capital after the Taliban took control of the country last week. (Photo by Ben Shread/MoD Crown Copyright via Getty Images)
UK defence secretary Ben Wallace today (24) said it is “unlikely” evacuations from Afghanistan will be extended beyond Aug 31. Meanwhile, six people deemed as “direct threats” to the UK were found in security checks of would-be evacuees from Kabul, MPs were told on Monday (23), amid broader warnings that the Islamic State terror group is targeting British soldiers and officials at the airport.
“Not only because of what the Taliban has said, but if you look at the public statements of President Biden, I think it is unlikely,” Wallace told Sky News, hours before the emergency G7 virtual meet over Afghanistan debacle.
In a briefing call on Monday (23), MPs were told that some individuals, who were on Britain’s “no-fly list”, had attempted to leave Afghanistan with the help of the UK.
Four of the people had been prevented from flying in Kabul, but two had successfully boarded planes, reports said. One was stopped in Frankfurt where he was blocked from continuing his journey, but his family was permitted to proceed to the UK while one reached Birmingham airport.
The government said that the person who reached Birmingham is “no longer considered to be a threat” and the individual, who has not been identified, has been allowed to enter the UK, reports said.
Declaring a spike in “no-fly” list people trying to enter the UK last week than in normal circumstances, Kevin Foster- the Home Office minister- said that while the UK must help those who are in danger from the Taliban, the government must be “mindful” of people who pose a threat to the country.
British officials at Kabul airport have been warning of a spike in impersonations, forged passports, and falsified travel documents amid a credible threat that Islamic State militants are targeting British soldiers and officials in Afghanistan.
James Heappey, the armed forces minister, told MPs on the same call that “the threat in Kabul is severe” and came from the local affiliate of the Isis terror group, known as Isis-KP, who are targeting the more than 6,000 US, UK and other western soldiers protecting the airport.
Over the past 24 hours, 1,821 people were evacuated on eight flights from Kabul. Evacuation flights have been landing first in Dubai, before continuing on to RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire or Birmingham airport, where all evacuees are processed by immigration staff and taken to Covid quarantine facilities, reports said.
About 7000 people, including 4,226 Afghans, have been airlifted from Kabul during the rescue mission which began on Aug 12.
While many more remain, the government has warned that the UK will not be able to evacuate everyone it hopes to by next Tuesday.