“Very few” private flights still leaving Afghanistan

The evacuation of civilians from Afghanistan will end on Saturday, the British chief said the troops are preparing to return home after “painful” efforts.

General Nick Carter, chief of defense staff, said Operation Pitting, an effort to evacuate British citizens and qualified Afghans from Kabul Airport, “did as much as possible in the circumstances.”

And for BBC Radio 4’s “Today” program, he said private flights remained “very few.”

“We are nearing the end of the evacuation that will take place today,” he said.

“And, of course, we’ll need to take our troops to the rest of the aircraft.”

Sir Nick also spoke of a call for a “painful” decision in which military personnel were forced.

“We couldn’t get everyone out, it was painful and there were some very challenging decisions that had to be made in the field,” he said.

“And, as you know, people like me who have a very long relationship with this country will receive very painful messages and texts from our Afghan friends forever. This is the most painful way. “

Chief of Defense Chief of Defense, General Nick Carter
March 19, 2021, Chief of Defense Chief of Defense, General Nick Carter. (Andrew Matthews / PA)

Labor Shadow Defense Secretary John Healy told Sky News that he also hopes the surgery will be completed within 24 hours as flights continue to arrive at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire overnight on Friday and Saturday mornings. Told.

Healy said: , But we are leaving it behind.

“And I know that especially those troops feel our failure to this because the country is a betrayal of many who have endangered their lives to work with us. . “

The Defense Ministry (MoD) said on Friday that it would free up space for military flight for diplomats and staff once the final civilian evacuation was completed.

But Tory lawmaker Tom Tagendat, who fought in Afghanistan, said he was disappointed that the evacuation efforts were nearing the end.

BBC Breakfast, a former Army officer and now chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Special Committee, said: I was expecting it because it wasn’t.

“It’s still very sad that many of my friends are left behind.

“You will understand what I am working on, and you do not intend to give you complete details about this, we have different networks to take people to a second country. And connecting them to the High Commissioner. The British Commission and Ambassador to take them safely to the United Kingdom. “

Asked if Britain could have done better when it withdrew its personnel from Afghanistan, Tugendhat said:

“Many of us are pressured to improve the treatment of people who think they are on duty for months or years.

“In the last few weeks, I have a question asked by the Foreign Minister about the process in the UK and I need to find out what the answer is.”

Evacuation Afghanistan UK
On August 28, after disembarking a Royal Air Force Voyager aircraft at the Royal Air Force Blythe Norton Air Force Base, 16 members of the Royal Air Force returned from support for an operation to evacuate people from Kabul Airport in Afghanistan 16 aerial assault brigades walked to the air terminal. .. 2021. (Alastair Grant / PA)

Defense Minister Ben Wallace previously admitted that there are 800 to 1,100 qualified Afghanistan under the Afghan Migration Assistance Policy (Arap) scheme, but about 100 to 150 British citizens remain in Afghanistan. Let’s go. Willing to stay.

However, many lawmakers say they considered this to be an underestimate, based on the communications they received for help.

On Friday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to “change heaven and earth” to allow those who wish to leave the country after the August 31 withdrawal deadline set by Americans to do so. bottom.

Early on Saturday, US troops carried out airstrikes on members of the ISIS-K terrorist group believed to be involved in planning an attack on the United States in Kabul.

One person was killed in the strike, and US spokesman Navy Captain William Urban said he was unaware of civilian casualties.

MoD said on Friday night that 14,543 people had been withdrawn from Kabul since August 13, when Afghan and British people were mixed.

About 8,000 of them were Afghans and their families under the Arup program, which helped Britain and applied to those at risk of persecution by the Taliban.

By Geraldine Scott and Isobel Frodsham