The newest news from Afghanistan is that the Foreign Office acknowledges, “We don’t know how many we left behind.”
According to James Cleverly, the UK remains committed to evacuating eligible Afghans from the country. However, the Foreign Office minister conceded that estimating how many people were left behind after the allied pullout was “difficult.”
Mr Cleverly said that the “huge, enormous majority” of British citizens had departed the war-torn country. However, it is anticipated that up to 1,100 Afghans who were eligible for the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (Arap) scheme did not make it onto aircraft out. Furthermore, the extent of a larger group of citizens facing Taliban retaliation is unknown.
“That’s an impossible number to put a number on,” Mr Cleverly added.
“We will continue to seek to get people out who fall into those groups – primarily, of course, those in the third – persons at risk of reprisals, whether they are high-profile individuals, religious minorities, or others who may be at risk of harsh Taliban reprisals.”
The Foreign Office has been heavily chastised for its handling of the issue.
Mr Cleverly admitted that emails from Afghans anxious to leave may have gone unnoticed.
After saying that it would assist people facing retaliation, he claimed the government had received a “great number of communications directly from Afghanistan and from third parties.”
“We had a restricted time window and flight availability in Kabul airport,” he added. Of course, getting individuals who had been processed and were at the airport onto planes was our top priority.
“We will continue to work with Afghans…who were not processed when the airport closed…to get them out of the country,” she said.
“We’ll keep working through the large number of emails to see if we can get as many individuals out as possible.”