The UK’s ambassador to Afghanistan stays in Kabul immediately, regardless of an SAS-backed operation to evacuate British embassy workers amid a Taliban takeover of the town.
Overseas Workplace chiefs say Sir Laurie Bristow stays within the Afghan capital this afternoon, as Taliban militants pour into the town in a bid to grab management following the withdrawal of US troops.
British troops, supported by Particular Forces, are at present within the metropolis trying to evacuate as much as 500 embassy workers.
However when requested if Sir Laurie was among the many a whole lot already thought to have been rescued, a spokesperson for the Overseas and Commonwealth Growth Workplace (FCDO) instructed MailOnline: ‘We have now lowered our diplomatic presence in response to the scenario on the bottom.
‘Nevertheless our Ambassador stays in Kabul and UK Authorities workers proceed to work to supply help to British nationals and to our Afghan workers.
‘We’re doing all we are able to to allow remaining British nationals, who wish to go away Afghanistan, to take action.’
Earlier experiences had urged Sir Laurie can be evacuated from Kabul on Sunday night because of the Taliban’s speedy development into the capital.
It comes as Particular Forces models are becoming a member of 600 British troops from the 16 Air Assault Brigade, together with 150 Paratroopers, with assist from RAF groups from world wide, to airlift British officers out of the town.
Nevertheless the Taliban’s advance has since hastened quickly, with militants now within the capital. Fears have been raised that they might quickly seize Kabul’s airport – at present the one method for civilians to get out of Afghanistan after militants captured Jalalabad yesterday.
In the meantime, as many as 2,000 interpreters and their households – who concern being branded as ‘traitors’ by the extremist Taliban – are in line to be rescued.
There are additionally 3,000 entitled personnel – British and twin passport holders – who may want evacuation by the UK Authorities. These embody help employees and safety officers stationed over in Afghanistan.
Nevertheless, solely 450 have so utilized to depart. The FCDO says it has been urging British nationals to depart the nation since April.
On high of this, round 2,000 individuals with hyperlinks to Britain may be eligible to depart Afghanistan for the UK.
It’s understood that British officers believed they’d till the top of the month to evacuate round 7,000 negligible individuals from Afghanistan – whereas US intelligence forces urged Kabul might stand in opposition to the Taliban for 3 months.
However gunshots had been heard exterior the capital metropolis, whereas Taliban militants had been seen within the districts of Kalakan, Qarabagh and Paghman immediately. And there are actually fears that Kabul’s airport might quickly be seized.
Particular Forces models are becoming a member of 600 British troops from the 16 Air Assault Brigade, together with 150 Paratroopers, and assist from RAF groups from world wide, to airlift greater than 500 British Authorities workers out of Kabul (pictured: The British embassy in Kabul)
Particular Forces models are becoming a member of 600 British troops from the 16 Air Assault Brigade, together with 150 Paratroopers, to start airlifting greater than 500 British Authorities workers out of Kabul. Pictured: Members of Joint Forces Headquarters get ready to deploy to Afghanistan
The UK Authorities says it goals to get British ambassador Sir Laurie Bristow (pictured) and his embassy workers out by Sunday night time – amid fears the Taliban might seize Kabul airport inside days
The Taliban is now closing in on the capital of Kabul from all sides, now controlling territories within the north, south, east and west
Gunshots had been heard exterior the capital metropolis, whereas Taliban militants had been seen within the districts of Kalakan, Qarabagh and Paghman immediately
It comes as, in a scene mirroring that of Saigon on the finish of the Vietnam warfare, a US Air Power helicopter was seen taking off from the US embassy earlier immediately.
The Chinook helicopter was seen taking to the skies above the town – similar to in 1975 when a US Marine helicopter was seen evacuating embassy workers from Vietnamese capital.
At present, smoke was additionally seen rising from close to to the US embassy earlier immediately as safety workers work to burn any essential paperwork, together with CIA data, or materials that could possibly be used ‘in propaganda efforts’. The US flag is quickly anticipated to be lowered, signalling the official closure of the embassy.
It comes because the US steps up its evacuation of Kabul with Taliban fighters shortly transferring in ‘from all sides’. Photographs had been heard on the outskirts of the capital earlier immediately, a lot sooner than first anticipated, earlier than fighters poured into the town.
US Intelligence officers had anticipated Kabul to carry out for 3 months, whereas UK ministers had been hoping they’d till the top of the month.
Leaders of the extremist group have immediately demanded the Afghan authorities give up the town to them in a bid to keep away from bloodshed – including the chilling warning ‘we’ve not declared a ceasefire’.
As many as 10,000 US residents are being evacuated from the town. Round 3,000 US troops are being despatched to assist the mission.
Taliban officers immediately demanded foreigners who don’t go away to register their presence with Taliban directors within the coming days. Whereas western international locations such because the US and UK have opted to evacuate workers, Russia immediately confirmed that it didn’t intend to evacuate its embassy workers in Kabul.
A twin-rotor US Air Power Chinook was seen taking off from the US Embassy earlier immediately, because the evacuation efforts quickly choose up tempo
The Chinook helicopter was seen taking to the skies above the town – similar to in 1975 when a US Marine helicopter was seen evacuating embassy workers from Vietnamese capital (pictured)
The US Embassy in Kabul has been ordered to destroy delicate supplies and evacuate as Taliban fighters transfer in on the capital
Anti-missile decoy flares are deployed as U.S. Black Hawk navy helicopters and a dirigible balloon fly over the town of Kabul, Afghanistan
Safety Engineers will keep behind as they proceed to burn, shred and pulverize 20 years price of intelligence saved on electronics and in paperwork. Pictured: Smoke rises subsequent to the US Embassy in Kabul immediately
The US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan has been the intelligence hub of the US’s warfare on terror
The Fall of Saigon – 1975
Photos displaying US embassy officers being evacuated from Kabul are nearly the mirror picture of these taken through the ‘Fall of Saigon’ in 1975.
Also referred to as the ‘Liberation of Saigon’ by the North Vietnamese, the occasion noticed the Folks’s Military of Vietnam and the Viet Kong seize the South Vietnamese capital of Saigon – now known as Ho Chi Min metropolis.
In the course of the offensive, US officers had been instructed to evacuate the town.
However due to persevering with rocket hearth on the close by runways, US officers urged that any evacuation should happen by helicopter.
So started Operation Frequent Wind, formally declared by the US radio stations placing Irving Berlin’s White Christmas on repeat – the sign for US workers to start evacuation.
The embassy evacuation managed to fly out 978 Individuals and about 1,100 Vietnamese residents.
Ambassador Graham Martin was flown out to the USS Blue Ridge, the place he pleaded for helicopters to return to the embassy.
His pleas had been overruled, although many locals had been nonetheless rescued by sea and boats after.
Saigon was later turned over to the Communist Occasion of Vietnam.
Because the Taliban advance continues, following the choice by the US to drag its troops out, gunfire was immediately heard close to the presidential palace in Kabul.
The militants had been seen within the districts of Kalakan, Qarabagh and Paghman hours after taking management of Jalalabad, the final main Afghan metropolis to fall to the insurgents.
The phobia group mentioned in an announcement they don’t intend to take the capital ‘by power’ after getting into the outskirts of the town.
An Afghan official earlier confirmed Jalalabad fell underneath Taliban management with out a battle early Sunday morning when the governor surrendered, saying it was ‘the one option to save civilian lives.’
Its fall has additionally given the Taliban management of a highway resulting in the Pakistan metropolis of Peshawar, one of many foremost highways into landlocked Afghanistan.
Jalalabad is near the Pakistani border and simply 80 miles from Kabul – the Afghanistan capital dwelling to greater than 4 million individuals and at present the one remaining main metropolis nonetheless underneath authorities management.
In addition to Kabul, simply seven different provincial capitals in another country’s 34 are but to fall to the Taliban.
Issues are mounting over how lengthy Kabul can stave off the Taliban insurgents as they’ve captured the northern stronghold of Mazar-i-Sharif, the second-largest metropolis Kandahar and third-largest metropolis Herat all inside the final 48 hours.
The Taliban are actually closing in on the capital from all sides, controlling territories to the North, South, East and West and advancing to only seven miles south of the town.
Hoda Ahmadi, a lawmaker from Logar province, instructed The Related Press that the Taliban have reached the Char Asyab district on the outskirts of the capital, which was gripped by blackouts, communications outages and road combating in a single day Saturday because the nation descends into chaos.
A US protection official has warned it could possibly be solely a matter of days earlier than the rebel fighters take management of Kabul.
A Taliban fighter sits inside an Afghan Nationwide Military (ANA) automobile alongside the roadside in Laghman province on Sunday
Taliban fighters drive the automobile by the streets of Laghman province Sunday – the identical day Jalalabad fell
Residents and fighters swarm an Afghan Nationwide Military automobile on a roadside in Laghman province because the insurgents take management of main cities
Final days of the US Embassy in Kabul: Nerve middle of the warfare on terror is being gutted of all delicate materials as workers and CIA property
The US Embassy in Kabul – the nerve middle of the warfare on terror – is being gutted of all its delicate materials and evacuated in 72 hours, because the Taliban coils round Afghanistan‘s capital.
The Embassy’s demise will create an intelligence void that would plunge the US into pre-9/11 blindness, except it could actually discover one other close by nation that may permit it rebuild its spy middle.
For the previous 20 years, the US Embassy in Kabul has gathered huge quantities of data that formed counterterrorism navy actions – reminiscent of precision drone strikes – and prevented one other 9/11-type assault.
The placement allowed CIA brokers to fulfill with sources and monitor the Taliban, Al Qaeda and different terrorist organizations within the area.
‘When the time comes for the US navy to withdraw, the US authorities’s potential to gather and act on threats will diminish. That’s merely a truth,’ CIA Director Invoice Burns instructed Senators in April.
Everybody within the Embassy – besides Bureau of Diplomatic Safety Service brokers and high decisionmakers, together with the ambassador – shall be in another country earlier than the top of Tuesday.
Safety Engineers can even keep behind as they proceed to burn, shred and pulverize 20 years price of intelligence saved on electronics and in paperwork.
Embassy or company logos, American flags ‘or gadgets which could possibly be misused in propaganda efforts’ are additionally thought of to be delicate supplies and shall be destroyed.
The navy is ready to decrease the American flag flying above the Embassy – on the State Division’s order – signaling the Embassy’s official closure.
At present the Taliban mentioned they goal to take the town, however say they don’t have any plans to take Kabul ‘by power’.
Leaders of the extremist group say they don’t desire a ‘single Afghan to be injured or killed’ through the hostile takeover – however warned ‘we’ve not signed a ceasefire but’.
Simply final week, US intelligence estimates anticipated the town to have the ability to maintain out for a minimum of three months.
A senior US official instructed the New York Instances the Taliban have warned the US it should stop airstrikes or else its extremist fighters will transfer in on US buildings.
Joe Biden has vowed that any motion that places Individuals in danger ‘shall be met with a swift and powerful US navy response.’
In the meantime, within the UK, Boris Johnson is going through requires a last-ditch intervention to forestall the entire collapse of Afghanistan.
The lead components of the British power despatched to evacuate the remaining UK nationals had been understood to be within the capital amid fears it might fall inside days and even hours.
However amid a hurried scramble for security, helicopters had been seen touchdown on the US embassy to ferry away remaining personnel.
Within the UK, there was deep anger amongst many MPs on the method – 20 years after the primary worldwide forces entered Afghanistan – the nation was being deserted to its destiny.
The chairman of the Commons Overseas Affairs Committee Tom Tugendhat mentioned it was ‘the largest single international coverage catastrophe’ since Suez, whereas Defence Committee chairman Tobias Ellwood mentioned it was a humiliation for the West.
Regardless of the choice of the Biden administration to withdraw the remaining US troops which triggered the collapse, Mr Ellwood mentioned it was nonetheless not too late to show the scenario round.
He known as for the despatch of the Royal Navy provider strike group to the area and urged the Prime Minister to convene an emergency convention of ‘like-minded nations’ to see what could possibly be completed.
‘I plead with the Prime Minister to assume once more. We have now an ever-shrinking window of alternative to recognise the place this nation goes as a failed state,’ he instructed Instances Radio.
‘We will flip this round nevertheless it requires political will and braveness. That is our second to step ahead.
‘We might forestall this, in any other case historical past will choose us very, very harshly in not stepping in after we might do and permitting the state to fail.’
SAS ordered to save lots of Our Man in Kabul: Particular Forces will get UK ambassador out by Sunday night time amid fears Taliban will take Kabul airport in days
Dominic Raab final night time ordered the dramatic rescue of the British ambassador in Kabul as Taliban forces closed in on the Afghan capital.
The Overseas Secretary sanctioned the SAS-led operation to airlift ambassador Sir Laurie Bristow and his embassy workers out by tomorrow night time after he was warned that Kabul airport could possibly be seized by the militants inside days.
Sir Laurie took up his posting in June, and for the reason that begin of the Taliban offensive final month, he and most of his workers have been working from the fortress-like Hamid Karzai worldwide airport – three miles from the centre of the capital.
The Overseas Workplace has been shocked by the velocity the Taliban has been in a position to transfer throughout Afghanistan
The British authorities desires to cease a scene much like that of the Fall of Saigon the place Vietnamese evacuees had been flown out on CIA funded Air America flights
The Overseas Workplace has been shocked by the velocity of the Taliban advance; till this weekend, diplomats had been predicting the fighters would take two weeks to succeed in Kabul.
However by early yesterday, after a lightning offensive, the Taliban captured the town of Pul-e-Alam, capital of Logar province and simply 43 miles from Kabul. The insurgents then continued their relentless advance, reaching the Char Asyab district simply seven miles from the capital.
It means Kabul is effectively inside vary of the artillery weapons seized by Taliban models after they had been deserted by the routed Afghan forces.
In a posh endeavor being directed from Britain’s Everlasting Joint Headquarters at Northwood, Particular Forces models are becoming a member of 600 British troops from the 16 Air Assault Brigade, together with 150 Paratroopers, to start airlifting greater than 500 British Authorities workers out of Kabul.
An additional 7,000 interpreters, safety workers, help employees, intelligence brokers and different personnel with hyperlinks to Britain might additionally apply for secure passage out of the more and more unstable nation in an echo of the humiliating US exit from Saigon in Vietnam in 1975.
The Taliban have been quickly advancing throughout Afghanistan and are inside days of reaching the capital Kabul
Officers have been shocked by the velocity the Taliban have been in a position to cross the nation
Overseas Secretary Dominic Raab has ordered the SAS to rescue the ambassador and his crew
A complete collapse of the Afghan authorities might result in a whole lot of 1000’s of refugees leaving the nation and searching for asylum in nations together with Britain.
A ‘ring of metal’ of fortified checkpoints encompass the airport in a bid to forestall automobile bombs, whereas The Mail on Sunday additionally understands that an air defence system known as C-RAM (counter rocket, artillery and mortar) has been deployed to guard the runway from being shelled. The airport’s large perimeter is defended by a power of about 500 Turkish troops. They’re being bolstered by 3,000 American troopers, together with 500 Marines, who started arriving yesterday.
In the meantime, US Reaper drones and closely armed AC-130 Spectre gunships – a fearsome floor assault model of a transport plane – will perform air strikes on any Taliban models approaching the airport, senior navy sources say. The air cowl shall be co-ordinated from the Mixed Air Operations Centre at Al Udeid air base in Qatar.
As panic gripped Kabul, international embassies started burning delicate paperwork. The US embassy knowledgeable workers that ‘burn bins’ and an incinerator had been obtainable to destroy materials together with papers and digital units to ‘scale back the quantity of delicate materials on the property’, in accordance with a doc seen by Reuters.
The velocity of the Taliban advance has surprised the MoD. Solely eight days in the past, Normal Sir Nick Carter, head of the UK’s Armed Forces, wrote that there have been ‘rising indications that average Afghans are decided to battle and their armed forces are holding their very own’.
The Taliban yesterday launched a multi-pronged assault on Mazar-i-Sharif, a metropolis in northern Afghanistan defended by highly effective former warlords. The insurgents additionally captured Sharana, the capital of Paktika province, which borders Pakistan. Photos emerged on-line of the Taliban tarring males accused of theft and parading them across the streets of the newly captured metropolis Herat, in western Afghanistan.
The pictures raised fears of a repetition of the human rights abuses dedicated by the fanatics within the Nineties. They included the beating of ladies for strolling on the road with out a male chaperone.
The SAS are believed to be making ready to evacuate the British ambassador and his workers from Kabul by tomorrow night
An Afghan police officer in Kabul mans a verify level regardless of the approaching Taliban
Terrorist fighters have been congregating within the metropolis of Heret, west of Kabul
It stays unclear what number of Afghan interpreters and others who helped the British shall be rescued from the nation. Canada has mentioned it should soak up as much as 20,000 Afghan refugees, together with outstanding ladies and authorities employees going through threats from the Taliban.
Johnny Mercer, a former Defence Minister who served three excursions in Afghanistan earlier than turning into an MP, mentioned he was speaking to former interpreters who had been ‘petrified’ of Taliban reprisals.
‘Clearly the Taliban haven’t taken Kabul however their individuals are in every single place. They’re beginning to go door to door in Kabul. I dread to assume what has occurred to those in Lashkar Gah and Nad-e-Ali [areas of Helmand province that have already fallen to the Taliban]. We have to get a transfer on.’
In the meantime, Lord Dannatt, a former head of the British Military, yesterday warned of a ‘tragedy within the making’ and urged the Authorities to think about launching a humanitarian help operation to alleviate the refugee disaster in Kabul.
He mentioned: ‘Let’s present the Afghan authorities we’re not utterly abandoning them and that we nonetheless stand facet by facet with them. It’s fairly doable to do this.’
Labour chief Keir Starmer additionally heaped stress on Boris Johnson, declaring ‘we can’t simply stroll away’ from the war-torn nation.
‘We have now obligations to Afghanistan, we made guarantees to Afghanistan, and we can’t simply stroll away and let this flip right into a humanitarian disaster, and possibly a refugee disaster as effectively,’ he added.
‘There’s a actual threat now that worldwide terrorism will take maintain once more in Afghanistan.’
Hypothesis is mounting that Afghanistan’s beleaguered President Ashraf Ghani might resign, heralding the collapse of the federal government. In a obscure tv tackle yesterday – his first public look in days – he mentioned he was ‘holding consultations with native leaders and worldwide companions’.
There have been solely seven industrial worldwide flights out of Kabul yesterday. These with out tickets have been urged to not go to the airport, however that has not stopped them from turning up and desperately trying to find flights.
Residence Workplace workers are set to run a processing centre from a hangar on the airport which can verify the passports and baggage of these attributable to be flown out, utilizing biometric gear to make sure that Taliban sympathisers don’t attempt to infiltrate the evacuees.