‘Some will not be able to make it’: UK min says Afghanistan evacuations to stop soon
The UK air bridge used to evacuate people out of Afghanistan might close within two to five days, defense minister James Heappey said, warning that not everyone will be “able to make it out.”
“Of course, it is difficult. But what I can say, contrary to the narrative out there, we were running this program for a considerable amount of time. Way back in April, we had brought people through. Up to 1,800 people and their families,” he told Today on Radio 4 on Thursday.
“At the moment, the large majority are getting to us. Now of course, some will not be able to get to us. There are people who are in deep fear and quite rightly feel that they can’t risk it, there are others who are much further afield in Afghanistan and will have a real challenge to get there [to Kabul airport],” he added.
Since the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan earlier this week, thousands of foreigners and locals have flooded Kabul airport in an effort to flee the country in fear of the extremist group’s rule.
Countries around the world have been airlifting citizens and Afghan employees, as well as a few refugees, out of the country, as thousands of people have desperately tried to get past Taliban roadblocks to reach the airport.
On Thursday the Taliban urged crowds of Afghans waiting outside it to return home, saying they did not want to hurt anyone, a day after firing at protesters and killing three.
The British minister warned that not everyone will be evacuated out of Afghanistan as the air bridge might close within two to five days.
“We don’t have it in our gift until absolutely everybody is out. The air bridge two more days, five more days, ten more days,” he said.
“It keeps absolutely everyone here at the Ministry of Defense awake at night — that reality that we won’t get absolutely everybody out.”