BRITAIN could halt the Afghanistan rescue mission in just three days – leaving thousands to the mercy of Taliban thugs and kidnap squads.
Troops are now in a race against time to evacuate up to 6,000 Brit nationals and Afghan locals from war-torn Afghanistan as the UK urges President Joe Biden to delay the withdrawal of US forces from Kabul airport.
British paratroopers are desperately trying to manage to chaos at the airport amid fears the evacuation mission could collapse in days.
Ministers have reportedly been told the last British evacuation flight out of Taliban-controlled Kabul could be on Tuesday – but a final decision had not been taken, Daily Mail reports.
UK Defence Minister James Heappey warned the airbridge could close in the coming days.
“The air bridge has two more days, five more days, ten days,” he said.
“It keeps absolutely everyone here at the Ministry of Defence awake at night – that reality that we won’t get absolutely everyone out.
“At the moment the large majority are getting to us. Now of course, some will not be able to get to us.” Shocking photos show troops attempting to manage thousands of refugees and foreign nationals at the only route out of the country.
Paratroopers were reportedly forced to link arms and push back the angry crowd – some of whom waved British passports in the air.
A senior government source told the Times: “People are going to get left behind. It’s a question of how many. It could be thousands. I don’t think people have realised the extent of the risk.”
Make no mistake, this evacuation is dangerous.
President Joe Biden
It comes as former British Marine Pen Farthing revealed he and his charity staff are plotting to break through the Taliban ranks and into the city’s airport in an attempt to flee the country.
He told the Today programme: “We are literally trying to plan how we are going to break into Kabul airport. Can you believe I’m saying that? We are trying to plan how we can break into Kabul airport.
“Somebody somewhere needs to get a grip of this. It’s not a joke, it’s not anything, that is genuinely what we are trying to do. With our team here I am going to try to plan to break into Kabul airport. I’m lost for words.”
He added: “I’ve got women and children – I’m not leaving without them. They’re coming with me.
“Right now they’re terrified, absolutely terrified. There are no assurances that they will be okay if they were to stay here.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said 2,000 people had been repatriated to the UK on both Thursday and Friday – with most of them UK nationals or those who had assisted British efforts in Afghanistan.
According to The Times, Johnson feels “let down” by Biden over the way the US has handled the withdrawal.
The Prime Minister stressed it would be a “mistake” to think of the end of August or the beginning of September as a “cut-off point for our involvement and our willingness to help” and that there would be time to sort accommodation and logistics for the 20,000 Afghan refugees the UK aims to take.
Biden defended the US withdrawal, saying he had “seen no questioning of our credibility from our allies around the world” after speaking with NATO partners.
But he admitted the US may not be able to rescue everyone it needs from the Taliban territory by the August 31 deadline.
He branded the evacuation as the “most difficult and dangerous airlift in history.