Afghanistan: Plymouth MP says UK has "ongoing obligation" as civilian evacuation ends

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A West Country MP has said the UK has an "ongoing obligation" to civilians in Afghanistan as he reveals ten Plymouth schoolchildren are trapped there.

The last civilian-only rescue flight out of Kabul airport left this afternoon (August 28) with more than 15,000 people flown out by the UK Government over the course of the operation.

However it is estimated that more than 1,000 people with links to the UK did not make it onto any of the flights.

Of those stranded 111 have confirmed links to Plymouth - including ten children.

The Labour MP for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport, Luke Pollard, said he doesn't know where the rescue mission goes from here but that we cannot "leave people behind".

He claims the Government has not acted efficiently enough in the rescue efforts, and in an interview with ITV West Country he said: "I don't think many of the people in Afghanistan were the main focus of the Government for quite some time.

"I think they didn't have a plan, they didn't prepare for this eventuality and their botched handling means that we left people behind - we left people from Plymouth, from the South West, from Britain in a dangerous country where we know the Taliban are hunting many of those people down."

The last purely civilian rescue flight left Kabul today.

Work has been going on behind the scenes for months to negotiate as many civilians as possible with links to the UK out of Afghanistan.

The MP says now rescue flights have stopped there's a question mark over what happens now: "Over the last couple of months my team and I have been trying to get families to safety, largely from the Kabul area.

"We had 123 people on our list to try and get to safety, we've managed to help 12 back but that still leaves 111 people in Afghanistan including around ten Plymouth schoolchildren.

"Now that the airlift has ended we don't know how we're going to get them to safety but we're not going to give up, we're going to keep trying."

He continued to say it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep the hopes of those stuck in Afghanistan up when he can only offer "contradictory advice".

More than 15,000 people have been flown out of Kabul by the UK Government. Credit: PA

He said: "It's been really difficult. When you're receiving regular communication, email, pictures, videos, WhatsApp messages from people who are sheltering in basements, hiding from the Taliban, fearing for their lives, being able to pass on what is often incomplete or contradictory advice from the Government just doesn't feel like it's enough."

In response the UK Foreign Office said: "Our staff worked tirelessly to facilitate the swift evacuation of British nationals, Afghan staff and others at risk.

"The scale of the evacuation effort was huge and we have helped over 15,000 people leave Afghanistan since the evacuation began. We continue to put pressure on the Taliban to allow safe passage out of Afghanistan for those who want to leave.”