UK troops board the final military flight out of Afghanistan
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Reports on social media have suggested the explosion came from a rocket attack on the airport in Kabul. However, it is not yet known how many people have been injured and no group has claimed responsibility. Journalist Omid Farooq wrote on Twitter: “Breaking: a huge explosion heard in Kabul.” He later added: “Source close the airport says that Kabul airport hit by a rocket.”
It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the UK departure from Afghanistan was “the culmination of a mission unlike anything we’ve seen in our lifetimes”.
The final UK troops and diplomatic staff were airlifted from Kabul on Saturday, drawing to a close Britain’s 20-year engagement in Afghanistan and a two-week operation to rescue UK nationals and Afghan allies.
Ambassador to Afghanistan Sir Laurie Bristow, who had been processing those fleeing the country at the airport until the last moment, was among those who landed at RAF Brize Norton base in Oxfordshire on Sunday morning.
And it brought to a close Operation Pitting, believed to be the largest evacuation mission since the Second World War.
In a video uploaded to Twitter on Sunday morning, Mr Johnson praised the more than 1,000 military personnel, diplomats and officials who took part in the operation in Afghanistan.
He said: “UK troops and officials have worked around the clock to a remorseless deadline in harrowing conditions.
“They have expended all the patience and care and thought they possess to help people in fear for their lives.
“They’ve seen at first-hand barbaric terrorist attacks on the queues of people they were trying to comfort, as well as on our American friends.
“They didn’t flinch. They kept calm. They got on with the job.
“It’s thanks to their colossal exertions that this country has now processed, checked, vetted and airlifted more than 15,000 people to safety in less than two weeks.”
More to follow…
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