UK’s ambassador promises to help those left behind as he arrives in UK on last flight out of Kabul

The British Ambassador to Afghanistan has vowed to help British nationals and Afghan translators who assisted our troops during the intervention now stuck in Kabul and ‘do everything’ to ‘help the Afghan people achieve the security and the peace that they deserve’. In a video message on Twitter, Sir Laurie Bristow, who had been processing those fleeing the country at Hamid Karzai International Airport until the last moment, said the British diplomatic mission to Afghanistan will operate from Qatar as the country fell to the Taliban.  Speaking on the runway at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire this morning as the last British plane from Kabul touched down, he said: ‘This is Laurie Bristow.

The team touched down at Brize Norton a few moments ago. It’s been an extraordinary, intense effort by the Foreign Office, the military and Border Force together to bring over 15,000 people to safety in under two weeks. ‘We’ve had to leave Afghanistan for now and the embassy will operate from Qatar for the time being. We will continue to stand by the people of Afghanistan, working on humanitarian, diplomatic and security work, and above all bringing to the UK Afghans and British nationals who still need our support, and we will be putting pressure on the Taliban to allow safe passage for those people.

‘We will reopen the embassy as soon as we can. We will do everything we can to protect the gains of the last 20 years and above all to help the Afghan people achieve the security and the peace that they deserve.’ 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. 

British Ambassador to Afghanistan Sir Laurie Bristow has vowed to help British nationals and Afghan translators left behind in the war-torn country and ‘do everything’ to ‘help the Afghan people achieve the security and the peace that they deserve’. Right, Boris Johnson 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 depart a flight from Afghanistan at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire In this handout image provided by the Ministry of Defence, UK military personnel onboard a A400M aircraft depart from Kabul

In this handout image provided by the Ministry of Defence, UK military personnel board a A400M aircraft departing from 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 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.  The last UK rescue plane from Kabul landed in RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire this morning In this handout photo provided by the Ministry of Defence, UK military personnel onboard a A400M aircraft departing Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, August 28, 2021

Pictured: Five Taliban fighters carrying weapons ride in the back of a truck as they patrol Kabul on August 28, 2021 Internally displaced Afghan families live in a temporary shelter at a park in Kabul, Afghanistan 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.