'No nation will be able to get everyone out': Defense Secretary admits desperate Afghans trying to escape to the UK will have to make their own way past the Taliban after August 31 - as four women are crushed to death in Kabul airport stampede

 Afghans trying to flee to Britain to escape the Taliban will have to make their own way to the borders if the Americans do not delay the date for leaving the country, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace declares today.

In a powerfully emotive article for The Mail on Sunday, Mr Wallace warns that time is ‘ticking along, impossible to stop’ towards the imminent end of the UK’s mission to rescue thousands of Afghans entitled to come to the UK.

While acknowledging that ‘no nation will be able to get everyone out’, Mr Wallace also announces that a series of ‘processing hubs’ will be set up in countries neighbouring Afghanistan for refugees who manage to escape. If they can establish their right to come to the UK, they will be flown to Britain.

The MoD is looking at establishing hubs in countries such as Pakistan and Turkey – but, startlingly, is also exploring whether the Taliban might allow the UK to retain a ‘presence’ in Kabul after the Americans have gone.

Mr Wallace makes a veiled plea for Washington to delay the US leaving date beyond August 31, writing: ‘Perhaps the Americans will be permitted to stay longer and they will have our complete support if they do.’

The 900 British troops cannot remain without the logistical support of the 6,000 US soldiers in Kabul and will have to finish the evacuation before that point to allow enough time to secure their own safe exit.

Mr Wallace’s announcement coincided with scenes of carnage at Kabul airport yesterday, with reports of at least four women crushed to death in a stampede.

US citizens were yesterday warned not to go to the airport amid fears that they might be hijacked en route by militants. The State Department said the US side of the airport would close for 48 hours. The British section remained open.

According to the MoD, 3,821 British and Afghan nationals have been evacuated from Kabul, where 1,000 British troops are based. About 3,500 people are still waiting to be airlifted.

Last night, an MoD source said the announcement about the refugee centres was intended to display ‘honesty’ about the thousands of British allies likely to be left behind. 

In a separate announcement last night, under-fire Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Britain had ‘stepped up to the plate’ after he secured 200 visa waivers for Afghan journalists to flee.


Afghans trying to flee (pictured: Chaos at Kabul airport yesterday) to Britain to escape the Taliban will have to make their own way to the borders if the Americans do not delay the date for leaving the country, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace declares today

Afghans trying to flee (pictured: Chaos at Kabul airport yesterday) to Britain to escape the Taliban will have to make their own way to the borders if the Americans do not delay the date for leaving the country, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace declares today

In a powerfully emotive article for The Mail on Sunday, Mr Wallace warns that time is ‘ticking along, impossible to stop’ towards the imminent end of the UK’s mission to rescue thousands of Afghans entitled to come to the UK. Pictured: Afghans attempt to get into Kabul airport yesterday

In a powerfully emotive article for The Mail on Sunday, Mr Wallace warns that time is ‘ticking along, impossible to stop’ towards the imminent end of the UK’s mission to rescue thousands of Afghans entitled to come to the UK. Pictured: Afghans attempt to get into Kabul airport yesterday

US troops are set to complete their withdrawal from Afghanistan by August 31. Pictured: US President Joe Biden
Mr Wallace (pictured) makes a veiled plea for Washington to delay the US leaving date beyond August 31, writing: ‘Perhaps the Americans will be permitted to stay longer and they will have our complete support if they do'

Mr Wallace (pictured right) makes a veiled plea for Washington (pictured left: US President Joe Biden) to delay the US leaving date beyond August 31, writing: ‘Perhaps the Americans will be permitted to stay longer and they will have our complete support if they do'


In his article today, Mr Wallace says that the collapse of Afghanistan has been ‘an exhausting, worrying and demanding time’, and warns that ‘the distressing exit of the West will have consequences for us all for years to come’.

He says: ‘The Parachute Regiment at the airport are dealing with unimaginable challenges. Public order, overcrowding, searing heat and desperate people. Soldiers trained for war are instead holding babies and co-ordinating crowds.’

The Minister adds: ‘Too many people in the airport has meant a suspension of access. I am confident that too will be fixed or mitigated but until it is, the crowds will get bigger. 

'And ticking along, impossible to stop, is time. I have said all along that no nation will be able to get everyone out.

‘It is a source of deep sadness for many of us across Nato and no one wanted 20 years of sacrifice to end this way. We will do our best to the very last moment. But it isn’t the end. 

'The Home Secretary and I have been planning the next stage… we will establish a series of processing hubs across the region outside of Afghanistan for those Afghans we have an obligation to bring to this country.’ 

Meanwhile, The Mail on Sunday can reveal that Home Secretary Priti Patel is scrambling to proscribe the Taliban as a terrorist group amid fears that hundreds of British jihadis will head to Afghanistan to join and live under the Islamist regime.

The Home Office is now looking urgently to ban the group which has avoided proscription so far, even though the Taliban has harboured terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda and killed 456 British troops in Afghanistan over the past two decades.

If an organisation is on the Government’s list of proscribed groups, it becomes a criminal offence for anyone in Britain to join or even support it, punishable by up to 14 years in jail.

If the situation remains as it is, Ministers fear that British jihadis could join and train under the regime then escape prosecution on their return to Britain.

Sources have told the MoS that Ms Patel is ‘livid’ that the Taliban in Afghanistan has not been banned already. A source said last night: ‘The fault doesn’t lie with Priti. It goes far back, as no previous Home Secretary has bothered to ban it.’ 

While acknowledging that ‘no nation will be able to get everyone out’, Mr Wallace also announces that a series of ‘processing hubs’ will be set up in countries neighbouring Afghanistan for refugees who manage to escape. If they can establish their right to come to the UK, they will be flown to Britain. Pictured: British and US troops help Afghans in Kabul

While acknowledging that ‘no nation will be able to get everyone out’, Mr Wallace also announces that a series of ‘processing hubs’ will be set up in countries neighbouring Afghanistan for refugees who manage to escape. If they can establish their right to come to the UK, they will be flown to Britain. Pictured: British and US troops help Afghans in Kabul

The MoD is looking at establishing hubs in countries such as Pakistan and Turkey – but, startlingly, is also exploring whether the Taliban might allow the UK to retain a ‘presence’ in Kabul after the Americans have gone. Pictured: A British evacuation flight with 265 people on board

The MoD is looking at establishing hubs in countries such as Pakistan and Turkey – but, startlingly, is also exploring whether the Taliban might allow the UK to retain a ‘presence’ in Kabul after the Americans have gone. Pictured: A British evacuation flight with 265 people on board

The 19th century struggle for power in Afghanistan between the UK and Tsarist Russia was called the Great Game. As the US and the UK pull its troops and the Taliban retake control by force, who will Afghanistan's new leaders cosy-up with? Turkey, the only Muslim-majority member of Nato, could benefit, partly because it can control the flow of Afghan refugees into Europe. The mullahs in Iran are delighted by the departure of the US and will recognise the new Kabul regime. Russia will also be pleased to see the US leave, but has its own concerns about Islamic extremism. China and Pakistan have also made early noises of support, while Qatar hosted Taliban leaders in its capital Doha since 2013. However India is dismayed by the Taliban's victory. Here Michael Burleigh looks at where each countries vested interests lie, and which countries will be happy and who will be angry at the Taliban takeover

The 19th century struggle for power in Afghanistan between the UK and Tsarist Russia was called the Great Game. As the US and the UK pull its troops and the Taliban retake control by force, who will Afghanistan's new leaders cosy-up with? Turkey, the only Muslim-majority member of Nato, could benefit, partly because it can control the flow of Afghan refugees into Europe. The mullahs in Iran are delighted by the departure of the US and will recognise the new Kabul regime. Russia will also be pleased to see the US leave, but has its own concerns about Islamic extremism. China and Pakistan have also made early noises of support, while Qatar hosted Taliban leaders in its capital Doha since 2013. However India is dismayed by the Taliban's victory. Here Michael Burleigh looks at where each countries vested interests lie, and which countries will be happy and who will be angry at the Taliban takeover


A Government source told the MoS that MI5 and counter-terrorism units are preparing for the possibility of British jihadis travelling to Afghanistan. 

‘Some will go and train under the Taliban and may come back to launch attacks,’ said the source. 

‘Others may take their families with them and live under the Taliban’s Islamic government.’

Britain has promised to evacuate about 6,000 UK citizens and Afghan staff from the country, but that is looking increasingly unlikely.

Yesterday, amid chaotic scenes, Britons were told to either go to Kabul airport or the nearby Baron Hotel, where their papers could be processed. But some found their path blocked by makeshift Taliban checkpoints.

Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy wrote to Mr Raab saying that hundreds of her Afghan constituents had contacted her to say that their relatives – some with young children – were stranded or beaten at checkpoints.

Last night, a Briton and his wife told how they came under fire from Taliban militants at a checkpoint as they headed to the hotel. Their driver was injured in the shooting.

As the British man tried to explain to the militants that he was a foreign national he was beaten and threatened.

He told ITV News: ‘My wife came out of the car, she was trying to save me and then they start beating my wife as well. They are warning me that if they see me next to that checkpoint they will kill us.’

It comes as yesterday the US Embassy told citizens not to travel to the Kabul airport without 'individual instructions from a US government representative,' citing potential security threats outside its gates. 

And yet crowds remained outside its concrete barriers, clutching documents and sometimes stunned-looking children, blocked from flight by coils of razor wire. 

Footage has since emerged of pandemonium and violence outside the airport, with US officials reporting that Americans have been beaten by the Taliban as they've tried to reach safety. The White House earlier confirmed that three military helicopters were used to rescue 169 Americans who were trapped at a hotel near the airport.

Meanwhile, Taliban co-founder Mullah Baradar arrived in the Afghan capital yesterday for talks with militant commanders, former government leaders and religious scholars.

Nato yesterday begged Mr Biden not to leave Kabul and urged the US troops to stay at the airport to get as many people out as possible. 

Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said: 'The US has stated that the timeline ends on August 31, but several of our allies raised... the need to potentially extend that to be able to get more people out.'

Meanwhile, pressure continues to grow on Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab after new claims emerged accusing him of failing to engage with foreign counterparts on the Afghanistan situation until the Taliban had reached Kabul. 

'No nation will be able to get everyone out': Defense Secretary admits desperate Afghans trying to escape to the UK will have to make their own way past the Taliban after August 31 - as four women are crushed to death in Kabul airport stampede 'No nation will be able to get everyone out': Defense Secretary admits desperate Afghans trying to escape to the UK will have to make their own way past the Taliban after August 31 - as four women are crushed to death in Kabul airport stampede Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 05:04 Rating: 5

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.