Kabul: Wallace reveals end of ‘main processing’ of evacuations
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Ben Wallace revealed the nearby Baron Hotel, which housed over a thousand people and acted as one of the main processing centres for evacuation, closed at 4:30am with no new applications being taken on. He added it was only a “matter of hours” before UK forces pulled out from the area following a terrorist attack that targetted near the hotel and the airport’s Abbey Gate. It means thousands of desperate Afghans have been left to their fate with Mr Wallace saying some may be rescued from the crowds outside but the majority would be left behind.
Mr Wallace appeared on Sky News to give an update on the situation in Kabul following a terrorist attack that killed 13 US troops and nearly 80 Afghan civilians.
He told host Kay Burley: “We have around a thousand people we have taken from the Baron Hotel for further processing.
“They will be leaving at any minute…
“We, at 4:30am UK time, closed the Baron Hotel, shut the processing centre and the gates were closed at Abbey Gate.
“We will process those who we have brought with us, the thousand people who are inside the airfield now.
“And we will seek a way to find a few people in the crowd where we can but overall the main processing has been closed.
“We have a matter of hours.”
Mr Wallace also reiterated his statements made throughout the week where not everyone would be saved.
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Regulations have been loosened to allow more people onto flights in an attempt to rescue as many people as possible.
The latest government figures suggest just under 13,000 people have been evacuated from Kabul since August 13 with an approximate total of 15,000 since April.
About 2,000 people eligible for the UK government’s relocation programme – Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) – are believed to remain in Afghanistan.
But Mr Wallace explained many of these would be processed and evacuated over the coming days as the mission comes to an end.
After an emergency COBRA meeting, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK Government would work until the “last moment” to get people out of Afghanistan despite the terror attack yesterday.
President Joe Biden said in a press conference the US would “not forgive” and “not forget”, warning terrorists: “We will hunt you down and make you pay.”
Earlier this week, Armed Forces Minister James Heappey told LBC the attack on Kabul Airport could happen “within hours” and revealed he was given lines in case the attack happened during his media round.
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