According to the British Ministry of Defense (MoD), British troops have so far evacuated 7,109 people from Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan.
The figures include embassy staff, British citizens, citizens covered by the Afghanistan Relocation Assistance Policy (ARAP) program, and a large number of citizens from partner countries, MoD said late Monday.
Army Minister James Heappey said more than 2,200 Afghans who supported the British people and British troops were the “focus” of the government’s evacuation efforts.
“We’re going to bring out as many people as we can, but it’s much clearer that there is a difficult reality that we can’t bring out everyone we want,” Heapy said on Monday.
“Air freight is not the only route from Afghanistan, nor is it the only route to the United Kingdom,” he added.
Group leaders from seven countries will hold an emergency summit later on Tuesday. Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden is expected to be pressured to extend the August 31 deadline for evacuation efforts at Kabul Airport.
The White House said on Monday that Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke on the phone, “In close coordination with allies and partners in managing the current situation and building a common approach to Afghanistan’s policies. He said he had discussed “importance”.
Downing Street said the two leaders “agree to continue working together to allow those eligible to evacuate to evacuate, even after the initial stages of evacuation have ended.”
“Our top priority is to complete the evacuation of our citizens and the Afghans who have supported our efforts over the last two decades,” Johnson said in a statement.
He promised, “We will use all humanitarian and diplomatic means to protect human rights and the interests we have gained over the last two decades.”
However, the Taliban disagreed with the extension and said that if Biden delayed the withdrawal, there would be “results.”
According to the Guardian, Sir Laurie Bristow, the British ambassador to Afghanistan, told parliamentarians on Monday that the Taliban had given a “quite uncompromising” signal and hoped to finish the operation by the end of the month.
British Defense Minister Ben Wallace said Tuesday that he was skeptical of an extension.
“I don’t think it’s likely. Not only what the Taliban said, but when you look at President Bayden’s official statement, it’s unlikely,” he told Sky News.
He said, “We are not going to take everyone out of the country.”
PA, Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.