Britain completed its troop withdrawal from Afghanistan on Saturday, evacuating 15,000 people in two weeks since the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul. Still, London is facing strong criticism for reportedly leaving behind scores of Britons and Afghans who were eligible for relocation to the UK.
The UK and the Taliban* are in direct talks to discuss how British nationals and allied Afghans who remain in Afghanistan can safely leave the county, a Downing Street spokesperson said in a statement on Tuesday.
The statement comes after Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab acknowledged that it would be a “challenge” for Britons, who are currently in Afghanistan, to find a route to the UK.
In an interview with Sky News, he claimed that the number of Britons who had not been airlifted as part of the now-finished UK evacuation was in the “low hundreds”. Earlier, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace insisted that up to 250 Britons eligible for relocation remain in Afghanistan.
Raab, for his part, said that more than 17,000 people had been evacuated from Afghanistan so far, including over 5,000 UK nationals.
Referring to the UK nationals remaining in Afghanistan, the foreign secretary said that “most of those are difficult cases where it’s not clear around eligibility because they’re undocumented”.
Raab also said the British government would hold the Taliban to its “explicit assurances” that it “must allow safe passage not just for our…