UK ambassador who stayed behind in Afghanistan says team is working flat out to get people to safety

The UK’s ambassador to Afghanistan, who has stayed behind to personally help process applications, has said his team is “working flat out” to get British nationals and Afghans who have helped the UK during the conflict there to safety.

“We are putting everything we can into getting British nationals and Afghans who have worked with us in the past out of Afghanistan and to safety,” Sir Laurie Bristow said in a video message posted on his Twitter account.

“Yesterday we got about 700 people out. We’re trying to scale up the speed, the pace over the next couple of days.

“We’ll put everything we can on this for the next few days, trying to get out everyone who we need to get to safety as soon as we can.”

Sir Laurie posted a series of images of the team working to get people out of Afghanistan, saying he was “very proud” of them.

The ambassador has been working from the airport in the Afghan capital Kabul alongside Home Office staff, diplomatic workers and the armed services.

The collapse of the Afghan government and subsequent Taliban takeover has sparked a scramble from the likes of Britain and the US to evacuate their nationals, as well as Afghans who have aided the mission.

A Foreign Office spokesperson on Sunday said the UK had “reduced” its diplomatic presence in Afghanistan, “but our ambassador remains in Kabul and UK government staff continue to work to provide assistance to British nationals and to our Afghan staff”.

They added: “We are doing all we can to enable remaining British nationals, who want to leave Afghanistan, to do so.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman on Wednesday said he did not want to “set a time limit” on when the evacuation of British nationals would be finished.

But he said there was an aim to extract 1,000 people a day from the country.

“That’s the number we’re aiming to operate on a daily basis but again I’d caution against putting a hard figure on it given the situation on the ground,” the spokesman told a regular Westminster briefing for journalists.

He added that although the situation on the ground was “currently stable”, that could change.

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