Kabul: Taliban flags sold by vendor outside embassy
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The Prime Minister thanked troops and officials for their “heroic efforts” evacuating people from Kabul. In a letter to the armed forces, Mr Johnson paid tribute to their commendable work carrying out Operation Pitting, which has evacuated thousands of people from the capital.
Mr Johnson recognised that the Taliban takeover would be “an especially difficult time for the friends and loved ones”.
The PM and Home Secretary Priti Patel have promised refugees heading to the UK will “fully integrate into society” and be provided with health, education, employment and accommodation.
“For those who have left their homes with no more than a small bag of belongings, and in fear for their lives, coming to the UK will no doubt have been a daunting experience, but also one of hope for the future,” the Prime Minister said.
“We will never forget the brave sacrifice made by Afghans who chose to work with us, at great risk to themselves. We owe them, and their families, a huge debt.”
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The last UK troops have now left Kabul, bringing the two decade military involvement to a close.
Since August 14, more than 15,000 people have been evacuated by British troops.
According to Downing Street, 2,000 evacuees are children – and the youngest is just a day old.
Around 5,000 UK nationals have been evacuated from Kabul along with 8,000 Afghans formerly employed by the UK and their families.
Those considered at risk from the Taliban were also evacuated.
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“Your efforts in difficult and hostile circumstances have seen the evacuation of thousands of British nationals alongside Afghans who worked with us, and who will now start new lives in the UK,” Mr Johnson wrote in the statement.
“I know that the events of recent weeks will have been hard for the armed forces community to watch unfold.
“Over the last two decades, many thousands of you dedicated years of your lives to service in Afghanistan, often in the most arduous conditions.
“In particular, I realise that this will be an especially difficult time for the friends and loved ones of the 457 service personnel who laid down their lives.
“So I want to take this opportunity to offer my profound thanks for everything you did and to say without hesitation that you should take the greatest pride in your achievements.”
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