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:
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 Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told BBC Breakfast this morning: