Afghanistan

Afghanistan: Extra UK Troops And Aircraft To Support Kabul Evacuation Mission

Two hundred extra troops are being sent to the Afghan capital and a small number of RAF aircraft are being diverted from other operations.

The UK is increasing its military support for the evacuation of British nationals and former British staff in Afghanistan, including 200 more troops being sent to the capital Kabul.

It brings the total number of service personnel deployed to the city – under the codename Op Pitting – to assist with bringing these people to the UK to about 900.

Additional personnel are being forward deployed to the region to be able to move into Afghanistan quickly if needed, while more personnel are being held at readiness in the UK.

Some Royal Air Force aircraft have also been diverted from other operations to support the repatriation flights.

The increase in support and readiness to deploy follows harrowing scenes of civilians desperately trying to get on board planes at the airport in Kabul after the city fell to the Taliban, effectively meaning the group has seized control of the country.

Watch: Chaos as civilians cling on to US military aircraft leaving Kabul.

Senior US military officials say the chaos at the airport on Monday morning left seven people dead, including some who fell from a departing US military transport jet. 

Viral footage from the airport's runway showed some clinging onto the side of a US Air Force jet as it prepared to take off, while another video showed Afghans falling off an aircraft as it gained altitude over Kabul.

The US military is sending another battalion of about 1,000 troops to help safeguard the airport, where US forces killed two armed people during increasingly chaotic evacuation efforts.

The first UK evacuation flight from Kabul touched down at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire on Sunday night

So far more than 300 people have been taken by the UK from Kabul's Hamed Karzai International Airport, where British troops are working alongside partners, including the US, to secure it so flights can continue out of the country.

The former British staff being allowed to board UK flights are those who are eligible for relocation under the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP).

Watch: Taliban – who are they and why are they so feared?

On Monday morning, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told BBC Breakfast the Government was aiming to fly out a further 1,500 people over the next 24 to 36 hours or slightly longer.

Six hundred British Army troops from 16 Air Assault Brigade arrived in Kabul over the weekend to support the evacuation.

The city, meanwhile, fell to the Taliban on Sunday. 

Afghanistan's representative to the United Nations Security Council has warned that the fate of the Afghan people "hangs in the balance".

In the UK, pressure has been mounting on the Government over the withdrawal from troops in Afghanistan, with Parliament set to be recalled on Wednesday so MPs can discuss the crisis.

A number of MPs have already expressed their deep concern over the situation, including Tory MP for Basildon and Billericay, John Baron, who called on the Prime Minister to apologise to bereaved service families and personnel who are "still paying the price" for the UK's handling of the mission in Afghanistan.

If you or someone you know needs support at this time, you can find more information by visiting the British Army website and the Government's website.

Further details about support available can be found on the Forces News website.