Boris Johnson is set to recall Parliament over worsening Afghanistan crisis after Taliban forces storm Kabul and demand surrender
- The PM is facing calls for a last-ditch intervention to prevent collapse of country
- Elements of UK force sent to evacuate remaining nationals from in capital today
- Arrangements were made to fly the British ambassador Sir Laurie Bristow home
- It had previously been intended he should remain in a secure location at airport
Parliament will be recalled from its summer recess next week to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.
Boris Johnson is facing calls for a last-ditch intervention to prevent the complete collapse of the country as Taliban fighters entered the outskirts of Kabul.
The lead elements of the British force sent to evacuate the remaining UK nationals were in the capital amid fears it could fall within days or even hours.
In a sign of the speed of the collapse, arrangements were reportedly being made to fly the British ambassador Sir Laurie Bristow out of the country.
It had previously been intended he should remain in a secure location at Kabul airport along with other international diplomats.
But amid a hurried scramble for safety, helicopters were seen landing at the US embassy to ferry away remaining personnel.
Boris Johnson is facing calls for a last-ditch intervention to prevent the complete collapse of the country as Taliban fighters entered the outskirts of Kabul
A Taliban fighter sits inside an Afghan National Army (ANA) vehicle along the roadside in Laghman province on Sunday
Taliban fighters drive the vehicle through the streets of Laghman province Sunday – the same day Jalalabad fell
There was deep anger among MPs at the way – 20 years after the first international forces entered Afghanistan – the country was being abandoned to its fate.
Chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Tom Tugendhat said it was ‘the biggest single foreign policy disaster’ since Suez.
Meanwhile Defence Committee chairman Tobias Ellwood said it was a humiliation for the West.
Despite the decision of the US to withdraw their remaining troops which triggered the collapse, Mr Ellwood said it was still not too late to turn the situation around.
He called for the despatch of the Royal Navy carrier strike group to the region and urged the PM to convene an emergency conference of ‘like-minded nations’.
He told Times Radio: ‘I plead with the Prime Minister to think again. We have an ever-shrinking window of opportunity to recognise where this country is going as a failed state.
‘We can turn this around but it requires political will and courage. This is our moment to step forward.
‘We could prevent this, otherwise history will judge us very, very harshly in not stepping in when we could do and allowing the state to fail.’
Left: Chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Tom Tugendhat said it was ‘the biggest single foreign policy disaster’ since Suez. Right: Meanwhile Defence Committee chairman Tobias Ellwood said it was a humiliation for the West
A Taliban fighter rides a motorbike through a street in Laghman province. A US defense official has warned it could be only a matter of days before the insurgent fighters take control of Kabul
Taliban fighters stand armed with guns in Laghman province after making major gains across Afghanistan in the wake of the US departure
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the situation in Afghanistan was ‘deeply shocking’ and called on the Government to recall Parliament.
He said: ‘We need Parliament recalled so the Government can update MPs on how it plans to work with allies to avoid a humanitarian crisis and a return to the days of Afghanistan being a base for extremists whose purpose will be to threaten our interests, values and national security.’
Earlier Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said when the US said it would withdraw, he had approached other allies about taking their place but none was willing to do so.
Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, he said it was ‘arrogant’ to think the UK – which is also pulling out its troops – could resolve the situation unilaterally.
He said a unilateral force would very quickly be viewed as an occupying force and, no matter how powerful the country that sends it, history shows us what happens to them in Afghanistan.
Britain is sending 600 troops – including Paras from 16 Air Assault Brigade – on a mission to support the final departure of the remaining UK nationals as well as Afghans who worked with the UK in the country.
Mr Tugendhat, who served as an Army officer in Afghanistan, said the priority had to be to get as many people out before Kabul collapsed.
He told the BBC: ‘This isn’t just about interpreters or guards. This is about those people who we trained in special forces to serve alongside us, those who helped us to understand the territory through our agencies and our diplomats.
‘This is the people who, on our encouragement, set up schools for girls. These people are all at risk now.
‘The real danger is that we are going to see every female MP murdered, we are going to see ministers strung up on street lamps.’
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