Afghanistan: Latest flight lands in UK as G7 seeks to pressure US ahead of evacuation deadline

Very young children and the elderly were seen amongst those arriving into the UK from Afghanistan early on Tuesday morning

A further 200 Afghans and UK nationals have landed in the country on board the latest flight from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan as the evacuation deadline looms.

A number of young children and elderly Afghans were seen disembarking the flight at RAF Brize Norton in the early hours of Tuesday.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said Operation Pitting, the military evacuation that began on Saturday, August 14, has so far evacuated 8,600 people from Kabul.

However, thousands more UK nationals and Afghans eligible under the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP) programme remain in Afghanistan ahead of the deadline of August 31 for evacuations to be completed by.

The Taliban have warned that an extension of this deadline will "provoke a reaction".

If the deadline is not extended, Mr Wallace has said that "not everyone will get out" of Afghanistan even if they're legally entitled to enter the UK.

At Tuesday's virtual G7 meeting, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, along with the leaders of France and Germany, will ask US President Joe Biden to extend the deadline as without American support UK troops do not have the numbers in Afghanistan to be able to remain.

However, Cabinet ministers have admitted it is “unlikely” Mr Biden would delay the departure of US troops from Afghanistan to allow more people to be evacuated.

16 Air Assault Brigade arriving in Kabul Credit: Leading Hand Ben Shread/MoD/Crown Copyright/PA

Also at the meeting, Mr Johnson will ask G7 leaders to stand by the Afghan people by supporting refugees and aiding humanitarian efforts when they meet on Tuesday. 

The prime minister will chair a meeting, where he is expected to call upon international partners to match the UK’s aid commitments and resettle those forced from Afghanistan, now under Taliban rule.

Millions have been displaced in Afghanistan since the country fell into the arms of the Taliban after the US and UK - among others - removed military support after two decades.

It is also anticipated that leaders will reiterate their commitment to safeguarding the gains made in Afghanistan over the last 20 years - with the main emphasis being on girls’ education and the rights of women and minorities.

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However, the focus of the meeting is expected to be on the ongoing evacuation at Kabul airport and plans to secure a stable future for Afghanistan.

Mr Johnson said: “Our first priority is to complete the evacuation of our citizens and those Afghans who have assisted our efforts over the last 20 years – but as we look ahead to the next phase, it’s vital we come together as an international community and agree a joint approach for the longer term. 

“That’s why I’ve called an emergency meeting of the G7 - to coordinate our response to the immediate crisis, to reaffirm our commitment to the Afghan people, and to ask our international partners to match the UK’s commitments to support those in need. 

“Together with our partners and allies, we will continue to use every humanitarian and diplomatic lever to safeguard human rights and protect the gains made over the last two decades. The Taliban will be judged by their deeds and not their words."

The UK has evacuated almost 8,600 people from Kabul since August 14, including British nationals, embassy staff, and Afghan nationals under the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP) programme. 

The UK has pledged to resettle 20,000 vulnerable Afghans in the country.