(London) The UK evacuation operation in Afghanistan ended on Saturday with the departure of a plane carrying its last soldiers, leaving hundreds of Afghans who were allowed to leave the country.
Posted on Aug 28, 2021 at 7:30 am Updated at 7:58 pm
“The last flight with British military personnel left Kabul,” tweeted the Defense Department, posting photos of tense-looking, elongated soldiers boarding the plane.
“To everyone who has served so courageously, under tremendous pressure and appalling conditions, to bring the most vulnerable civilians to safety, thank you,” added the ministry.
The last plane that only evacuated civilians took off from the Afghan capital early Saturday.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson also thanked those who carried out the operation, which evacuated more than 15,000 people in less than two weeks.
“I want to thank everyone involved and the thousands of people who have served (in Afghanistan) over the past two decades. You can be proud of what you have achieved, ”he wrote on social media.
The British Army “has given thousands of people better futures and security,” added Defense Secretary Ben Wallace.
The chief of the British armed forces, General Nick Carter, had estimated on Saturday that the evacuation operation had gone “as well as possible under the circumstances” after an attack by the group “Islamic State” claimed that more than a hundred people had been killed did Thursday, including 13 American soldiers and two British.
But he felt “heartbreaking” that he couldn’t “get everyone out”.
According to him, the number of eligible Afghans who have not been able to leave the country is counted to “a high number in the hundreds”. Britain will welcome them if they manage to leave the country by other means after the deadline, he said.
For his part, Minister Wallace named a number of up to 1,100 eligible Afghans who remained behind.
The United States will face a “very difficult” situation in the days ahead, General Carter said.
“I think our American allies, who will actually bring up the rear, will face a major challenge,” he said, noting that the ISIS threat “has not gone”.
Quarrel over cats and dogs
Among the last to leave Kabul is Paul Farthing, a former soldier who set out on a special flight to evacuate around 200 dogs and cats from an animal shelter in Kabul.
“We are relieved to be able to confirm that (Farthing) and the animals left Afghanistan this afternoon and are now safe,” said his association Nowzad on Facebook.
This initiative met with heavy criticism given the influx of candidates at the beginning. The Afghan employees of the association and their relatives could not reach the airport to be evacuated themselves. The association promised to “do everything possible to help them”.
“(Farthing) not only abandoned its Afghan workers, but also put their dogs on their plane when the Americans loaded their 13 victims,” said a British defense source, quoted by The Times newspaper, outraged.