Boris Johnson leaving Downing Street 160920 CREDIT PA
UK

UK Reacts To Afghanistan Crisis: Boris Johnson Calls COBRA Meeting

Parliament will also be recalled on 18 August, after the Taliban have demanded the surrender of the Afghan government.

Boris Johnson leaving Downing Street 160920 CREDIT PA

Boris Johnson has called a meeting of the Government COBRA emergencies committee as Taliban fighters stand poised to take control of the Afghan capital Kabul.

Downing Street said ministers and senior officials would meet on Sunday afternoon to discuss the worsening situation.

COBRA – which stands for Cabinet Office Briefing Room A – is the mechanism used for ministers and officials from across Whitehall to meet in response to major events and emergencies.

Meanwhile, Parliament will be recalled on Wednesday 18 August to assess the crisis, the House of Commons authorities have confirmed.

Taliban forces entered the capital on Sunday and have demanded a government surrender.

However, Afghan officials say Kabul is "secure" – amid talks in Doha, Qatar, the site of a Taliban office.

There are reports President Ashraf Ghani has left the country.

Britain entered Afghanistan with the US in 2001, as part of what has become America's longest war.

In the last 20 years, 150,610 UK personnel have served in the country.

As NATO forces finalised a withdrawal from the country, a Taliban surge has prompted a short-term additional deployment of UK troops.

About 600 British personnel have already begun deploying on Operation Pitting, to assist with the evacuation of UK nationals and former British staff eligible for relocation under the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP).

Cover image: Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Picture: PA).