Amid growing panic among civilians in Afghanistan, the United Kingdom on August 16 announced it will ease border rules to allow asylum seekers to flee to Britain without a passport.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the government wanted to make it easier for interpreters and contractors who supported Western forces to seek asylum in the UK, as per a report by The Telegraph.
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Wallace also said that the government was planning to fly out 1,500 more people from Afghanistan over the next two days, AP reported.
The first flight carrying British nationals has landed in the UK, he said, as countries scrambled to evacuate their diplomats, Afghan employees and their families from the chaotic airport in Kabul.
Wallace expressed hope that the government will be able to evacuate around 1,000 people a day, including Afghan nationals who have helped British citizens.
Read | What the Taliban victory in Afghanistan means for India and the world, explained
He told the BBC that work is underway to “remove any bureaucratic barriers” to make sure people who pass screenings are able to be flown to the UK.
He said the British government sent more than 600 troops over the weekend to Kabul to help secure the airport and “to effectively process, manage and escort people onto our flights to get them out of Afghanistan.”
Wallace said one of the “biggest regrets” with the speed of the collapse of the Afghan government is that the timetable to remove Afghans and British people from the nation by August 31 has had to be shortened.
Also read: The rise and fall of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani
President Ashraf Ghani fled the country on Sunday night as the insurgents encircled the capital, capping a military victory that saw them capture all cities in just 10 days.
"The Taliban have won with the judgement of their swords and guns, and are now responsible for the honour, property and self-preservation of their countrymen," Ghani said after fleeing.
Government forces collapsed without the support of the US military, which invaded in 2001 after the September 11 attacks and toppled the Taliban for its support of Al-Qaeda.(With agency inputs)