Dominic Raab says evacuations from Kabul airport may resume in ‘the near future’

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Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is in Qatar (Daily Telegraph/PA) (PA Wire)
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is in Qatar (Daily Telegraph/PA) (PA Wire)

Evacuations from Afghanistan may resume in the “near future”, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said.

The cabinet minister, who is in Qatar, raised hopes that Britons and Afghans left behind in the country may soon be able to leave on flights from Kabul.

“I don’t think we’re yet able to say anything formal but that’s looking like it may happen at some point in the near future,” he said.

Mr Raab added that while the UK Government would not recognise the Taliban in the “foreseeable future”, there is an “important scope for engagement and dialogue”.

The UK evacuated 15,000 people from Kabul after the Taliban took control of the country on August 15. These included 5,000 British nationals and more than 8,000 Afghans who had worked for the UK and their families, as well as other vulnerable people.

Among those fleeing were about 2,200 children - the youngest of whom was just one day old.

Mr Raab was using a visit to Qatar to build a coalition to “exert the maximum moderating influence” on the Taliban as they “adjust to the new reality” of the group being in power.

He added that he had “good conversations” with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani about the “workability” of evacuations resuming for UK nationals and Afghans who worked with Britain.

The RAF’s last civilian airlift left Hamid Karzai International Airport on Saturday. The US withdrew its final forces on August 31 after a 20 year war.

Thousands of Afghans who helped British efforts and their relatives are feared to have been left behind.

Mr Raab also countered Defence Secretary Ben Wallace’s assertion he knew the “game was up” in Afghanistan back in July, when the country was falling to the Taliban as the US and UK withdrew troops.

He told broadcasters: “Ben and I were taking the same assessment throughout until very late.

“The central assessment had been that Kabul wouldn’t fall until after the end of August and the evacuation of allied troops, and indeed there would be a steady deterioration throughout the remaining part of the year, so we were all working to the same set of assumptions.”

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