RAF still to airlift 2,000 people deemed eligible for evacuation out of Kabul
By Max Parry
Published: 25/08/2021- 15:19
Updated: 14/02/2023- 11:15
The RAF still needs to airlift out of Kabul nearly 2,000 Afghan interpreters and other staff who worked for Britain as the evacuation operation enters its final days.
They have been assessed as eligible under the Afghan relocations and assistance policy (ARAP) and have passed security checks but remain on the ground.
Latest figures from the Minister of Defence put the number of people airlifted out of Afghanistan since the Taliban swept to power at more than 10,000.
But the end of the operation is rapidly approaching after US President Joe Biden rejected calls from Boris Johnson and other allies to delay his August 31 withdrawal date for the remaining American troops.
As well as the almost 2,000 people eligible under Arap, an unidentified number of “special cases” may be eligible for evacuation, such as LGBTQ advocates, judges and human rights activists.
The number of British citizens who still need evacuating, as well as those who hold dual citizenship, also remained unclear.
A total of 10,291 individuals, including more than 5,500 Afghans and their families, have been evacuated by Britain since August 13, as the Taliban was making its rapid advance towards Kabul following the major departure of US troops.
The MoD said on Wednesday morning that 1,833 had been airlifted in the previous 24 hours.
A timetable for British troops to halt evacuations and begin their own exit has not been set out but is likely to come ahead of the departure of their American counterparts.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said “every hour” will be used to help people flee and declined to rule out UK forces having to depart by the end of Friday.