UK PM Johnson defends Kabul evacuation amid criticism

WION Web Team
London Published: Aug 29, 2021, 06:46 PM(IST)

UK PM Boris Johnson Photograph:( AFP )

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Like the United States, UK has also been facing criticism for failing to pre-empt the quick takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban forces and not making adequate preparations for the smooth evacuation of British nationals and vulnerable Afghans

Amid growing criticism of UK’s handling of the evacuation process in Afghanistan, Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday defended their airlift operation saying that “the culmination of a mission, unlike anything we've seen in our lifetimes.”

Like the United States, UK has also been facing criticism for failing to pre-empt the quick takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban forces and not making adequate preparations for the smooth evacuation of British nationals and vulnerable Afghans.

In a video clip uploaded to Twitter, he said, “UK troops and officials have worked around the clock to a remorseless deadline in harrowing conditions. They have expended all the patience and care and thought they possess to help people in fear for their lives.”

“They’ve seen at first-hand barbaric terrorist attacks on the queues of people they were trying to comfort, as well as on our American friends. They didn't flinch. They kept calm. They got on with the job. It’s thanks to their colossal exertions that this country has now processed, checked, vetted and airlifted more than 15,000 people to safety in less than two weeks.”

On Saturday, the final British troops and diplomatic staff were airlifted from Kabul, culminating a chaotic two weeks of the evacuation process which saw thousands of Afghans fleeing, fearing the Taliban rule.

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However, as per reports, over 150 British nationals and more than 1,000 Afghans who assisted the western forces have been left behind. 

Johnson said however that while Britain would not have wished to leave Afghanistan in the way it did, the armed forces should still be proud of their achievements.

A Foreign Office spokesperson said it had worked tirelessly to evacuate people but it had always cautioned that it would not be able to help everyone. The spokesperson declined to give any further details on the process.

Britain`s defence minister, Ben Wallace, predicted last week that time had run out to evacuate around 1,000 Afghans who were eligible to come to Britain, including former staff to the UK.

(with inputs from agencies)

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