Military flights evacuate civilians from Afghanistan
Afghan civilians and entitled personnel left Kabul Airport on Royal Air Force flights over the weekend.
Military planners, logisticians and specialist personnel including dog handlers were among those who deployed to the country to ensure the safe evacuation of British nationals and entitled Afghans.
Personnel from the UK’s high readiness force, 16 Air Assault Brigade, are working in Kabul this week to ensure the safe movement of British nationals and those eligible under the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy.
We heard from some of those being evacuated:
Din Mohammad, who grew up in Leeds but has spent the last 20 months living in Kabul along with his family, was one of the passengers on the first flight out of the city. He said:
“We decided to leave when my son and I went shopping on the 19th and saw how fast things turned bad.”
Mohammad, who helped train the British Army as a roleplayer on exercises before moving to Afghanistan, added:
“I’m happy. I know when we came out of the vehicle (to the airport) I said thank you, and they said ‘No sir, thank you.”
Teymour, 37, a capacity development worker from Hampstead Heath shares his thoughts for the people in Kabul.
“It’s a difficult day for the people of Kabul. The situation has destabilised, there are very few ways out. I feel relieved to be here. It’s better to see what happens next, I would like to come back and do my work in future if possible.”
“The military has made me feel like I won’t be attacked while I’m here. Now I’m on site I feel safe. People have been trying to help each other, bringing food, giving juice to children. The Officers have been very cordial and friendly, I am grateful to the UK.”
Security firm owner James, from the East Midlands, has been based in Kabul for nine years. He said:
“The last two weeks has been possibly the most stressful of my life, organising clients who didn’t see what was happening in front of them, and didn’t believe the speed with which it did happen.”
“Once I’d got my clients out and safe, I then started getting or my staff out, but we were constrained by flights. I used the Embassy number on LinkedIn — I’d paid it lip service before, but I will never do that again. We got a phone call at 2:30 to get here, and then the rest has been really good, really smooth.”
British forces will remain in place to ensure those Afghans who are eligible for relocation to the United Kingdom that want to, are registered and evacuated as the UK accelerates the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy.