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27 August 2021updated 31 Aug 2021 9:07pm

How many people has the UK evacuated from Afghanistan?

MPs say only a fraction of people contacting them have managed to get out of the country.

By Ailbhe Rea

Joe Biden has vowed revenge on those responsible for two explosions at Kabul airport, which have killed at least 90 people.

Two suicide bombers attacked crowds desperate to board flights at the airport, claiming the lives of at least 72 Afghans, including 28 Taliban members. 13 American soldiers were also killed. IS-K, Afghanistan’s Islamic State franchise, has claimed responsibility for the deadly attacks.

The UK evacuation effort is now in its “final hours”, with the processing centre for Afghans seeking refuge in the UK now closed. Ben Wallace, the defence secretary, has conceded that not everyone will be able to escape the Taliban, expressing his “deep regret” that not more can be done. 

There is a political dispute bubbling away under the surface as to the reality of the British mass evacuation effort: despite positive reports and apparent pride at the numbers saved in recent days, opposition MPs have been questioning the spin that a majority of Afghans eligible to come to the UK have been saved, noting from their own in-trays that only a fraction of people contacting them have managed to get out of Afghanistan.

But while that row simmers under the surface, the focus this morning (27 August) is on the far more immediate challenge of the next 24 hours. The final evacuation takes place not only under the shadow of yesterday’s horrors, but the threat of further attacks before the evacuation ends.

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