The last UK evacuation flight for Afghan nationals has left Kabul, said British officials, as the country’s ambassador announced it’s “time to close this phase of the operation.”
Further flights over the weekend will bring home British troops and diplomats, though they could carry some remaining U.K. or Afghan civilians, the Associated Press reported Saturday.
Laurie Bristow, Britain’s ambassador to Afghanistan, said “we haven’t forgotten the people who still need to leave.”
In a video posted to Twitter from the Kabul airport, Bristow said, “We’ll continue to do everything we can to help them. Nor have we forgotten the brave, decent people of Afghanistan. They deserve to live in peace and security.”
Britain’s Chief of Defense said there are still hundreds of people eligible to come to the United Kingdom, according to reports.
“We haven’t been able to bring everybody out and that has been heartbreaking, and there have been some very challenging judgements that have had to be made on the ground,” Gen. Sir Nick Carter said.
The difficulty of traveling to Kabul airport – the scene of a terrorist attack which killed 200 on Thursday — may be what’s holding back potential evacuees, rather than processing issues, Carter added.
“We are forever receiving messages and texts from our Afghan friends that are very distressing. So we’re all living this in the most painful way,” he told the BBC.