Hero British ambassador stays to process Afghan visas while US and German counterparts flee


Sir Laurie Bristow, Britain’s ambassador to Afghanistan has stayed behind helping to process visa applications for Afghan interpreters hoping to escape persecution from the Taliban.

Sir Laurie is said to be at Kabul airport working night and day with a small team of diplomats doing everything they can to help as many people as possible leave the country.

With the Taliban now in control of Kabul, there is a race against time to evacuate interpreters and other Afghans who have helped British forces in combat efforts against the Taliban.

Around 4,000 British nationals and eligible Afghans are thought to be in the city and in need of evacuation. However, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has admitted “some people won’t get back.”

Sir Laurie was due to be flown out of Kabul yesterday but insisted on staying to help provide assistance to British nationals and Afghan staff.

A spokesperson for the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office said:

“We have reduced our diplomatic presence in response to the situation on the ground.

“However our Ambassador remains in Kabul and UK Government staff continue to work to provide assistance to British nationals and to our Afghan staff.

“We are doing all we can to enable remaining British nationals, who want to leave Afghanistan, to do so.”

Sir Laurie’s decision to remain is in stark contrast to other allied nations such as the USA and Germany who abandoned Kabul as soon as the Taliban moved in.

The US ambassador flew back to America yesterday despite the US Departments of Defense and State saying they would “accelerate the evacuation of thousands of Afghans eligible for US Special Immigrant Visas (SIV).”

However, President Biden has since stopped the number of flights to the US for Afghans who worked alongside American troops with the last flight for SIV applicants leaving the country yesterday (Sunday).

A German Defense Minister has also suggested Germany has abandoned those who have helped their troops over the past 20 years and now subjected them to certain death by the Taliban.

The UK is hoping to help remove at least 1,500 people over the next 24 to 36 hours and the UK Government has sent in over 600 military personnel to Kabul to assist with the effort.

British troops heading to Kabul over the weekend. Photo: LPhot Ben Shread – UK MOD © Crown copyright 2021

British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told BBC Breakfast this morning:

“Our flights, our planning and coming in and out and soon if we manage to keep it in the way we’re planning to, we should have capacity for over 1,000 people a day to exit to the UK.

“Currently this is not about capacity on planes, it’s about processing speed, so that’s why we’re trying to fix that.”

“Our timescale which we’d originally planned, which was August 31, will be out.

“We will try our very best to get everyone out, it’s one of the biggest regrets of the speed of the collapse of the Afghan government is that those timetables will no doubt have to be shortened and that’s what we’re moving extra assets to do.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here