Ben Wallace conceded that the UK’s involvement will end when the US leaves Afghanistan, which is scheduled to take place on August 31.
“The Prime Minister is obviously going to the G7 to try to raise the prospect of seeing if the United States will extend,” he said during a visit to Port George, near Inverness.
“It’s really important for people to understand that the United States has over 6,000 people at the Kabul airport and when they pull out, that will remove the frame, and we will have to go as well.
“I don’t think there is a chance of staying after the United States. If their schedule gets even longer by a day or two, that will give us a day or two more to evacuate people.
“Because we’re really down to hours now, not weeks, and we have to make sure we use every minute to get people out. “
Just before his comments, the Foreign Ministry said it had sent five more employees to Kabul airport last night and today to help with the evacuation.
Nineteen members of the Foreign Office, including Ambassador Laurie Bristow, are now at the airport to help the military process and evacuate British nationals and Afghans who have worked for the British for the past 20 years , as well as their families.
A summit of G7 leaders is due to take place practically tomorrow, with Boris Johnson pushing US President Joe Biden to extend the US withdrawal at the end of August.
The president has indicated he may be ready to comply with the demands, but Wallace said the Taliban should agree to that as well.
Taliban spokesman Dr Suhail Shaheen told Sky News that August 31 was “a red line” and there will be “consequences” if Mr. Biden delays the withdrawal of American troops.
But Mr Wallace said it was “in the best interests of the Taliban to keep the country open” and that the group “would want the airport to work,” which would mean those eligible to leave Afghanistan by air or by land could do it.
Armed Forces Minister James Heappey said the “harsh reality” was not that all eligible people would be airlifted, but said there was a “second phase” where people could go. enroll in the British Aid and Resettlement Policy in Afghanistan (PFRA) with a refugee. treatment center or embassies in the region.
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He told Sky News: “There were a number of civil society people who were not part of PFRA, but the UK government tried to do the right thing. “
The minister said the UK had extracted 1,821 people on eight flights from Kabul in the past 24 hours, and 6,631 evacuated last week.