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Afghanistan: 2,000 people who worked for UK still to be airlifted

Two thousand Afghan interpreters and others who worked for the British government are still to be airlifted out of Kabul by the RAF, defence sources said as the emergency evacuation reaches its final stages.

There also remain an unidentified number of “special cases” – human rights activists, judges, LGBTQ+ advocates and others – placed on a special list by the Foreign Office waiting to get out, plus a small number of single-nationality Britons.

A total of 10,291 people have been evacuated by the RAF since the fall of Kabul including 6,380 Afghans and 2,570 Britons and their dependants, 341 embassy staff plus citizens of 38 other countries, according to new official figures.

The Ministry of Defence would not be drawn on how long evacuation would last – although defences sources suggested it would be as little as 24 to 36 hours to allow British military to pack up, followed by the US.

It is understood that the US, which has around 6,000 troops at the airport, will pack up on its own. Defence and aid sources estimate the Americans will need two to three days to exit at some point before the 31 August departure deadline.

Earlier Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, said that the UK would use “every last remaining hour and day” to get as many people out as possible before having to depart.

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