THE MAJORITY of people eligible to leave Afghanistan for the UK have now been evacuted, the Prime Minister has confirmed.
Speaking to reporters this afternoon, Boris Johnson said that Augsut 31 would not see the UK cut off help to those trying to flee, despite troops being withdrawn.
He said that the “lion’s share” of eligible people have now been removed, but added there would be “people who still need help” after the end of the month.
Asked whether this would be challenging amid reports of the Taliban blocking the roads, Mr Johnson said: “What we’re hoping, and this is the key point that the G7 agreed, is that the Taliban understand that if they want to engage with development aid, they want to unlock those billions of funds, they want to have a diplomatic, political relationship with the outside world, then the safe passage for those who want to come out is the key precondition.”
Mr Johnson said the next challenge will be to help those Afghans who resettle in the UK to “integrate into our society”.
He added: “The real job now is to make sure they have the housing, they have the skills, they have the opportunities to integrate into our society.
“As you know, our labour market… it currently offers many opportunities, but we must make sure that they’re ready, and that’s another whole job.”
On a tour of the Permanent Joint Headquarters in north London Mr Johnson met military personnel who had been co-ordinating the evacuation effort in Afghanistan.
The Prime Minister asked what kind of security checks were carried out on those who applied for the resettlement schemes. He also read emails sent by Afghans wishing to come to the UK, before meeting a former Afghan interpreter – also called Boris – who was helping with the effort.
The interpreter, who only gave his first name, told Mr Johnson he was originally from Kabul and worked as an interpreter for the British Army from 2006 before working at Camp Bastion and then moving to the UK and becoming a British citizen.
Speaking about the interpreters still in Afghanistan that he was in contact with to arrange their resettlement, he told the Prime Minister: “When I call them, I remember the guys who I worked with.”
He said he was also now a reservist for the Army.