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Britain still wants to fly thousands of people from Afghanistan: PM’s spokesperson

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Britain still wants to fly out thousands of people out from Afghanistan and has not set a hard deadline for when evacuations will end, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesperson said on Monday.

“We have not set a hard deadline for when the evacuation procedure will end,” the spokesperson said.

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“We will continue to run our evacuation process as long as the security situation allows, like I said this will be a topic of discussion tomorrow, and we need to flexible in our approach.”

Britain is “down to hours now, not weeks” in its evacuation plan for people from Kabul and forces on the ground need to use every moment they have to get people out, Defense Minister Ben Wallace said earlier on Monday.

He told broadcasters he did not think there was any likelihood that British forces would stay on after the US left which is expected by Aug. 31.

“If their timetable extends, even by a day or two, then that would give us a day or two more to evacuate people because we are really down to hours now, not weeks, and we have to make sure we exploit every minute to get people out,” Wallace said.

Earlier on Monday, two UK ministers said that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will ask US President Joe Biden to extend the evacuation deadline from Afghanistan when Group of Seven leaders discuss the crisis on Tuesday.

James Heappey, minister for the armed forces, and James Cleverly, a foreign office minister, said Britain was pushing for the deadline to be pushed beyond Aug. 31 to increase the number of people it can help who want to flee the Taliban.

Heappey told Sky News around 4,000 people who were eligible to come to the United Kingdom were still in Afghanistan and the government wanted to evacuate thousands more if it could.

Read more:

UK PM Johnson to urge Biden to extend Afghanistan evacuation deadline

Taliban will not allow western forces to extend Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline: Sources