The British government has confirmed that approximately 600 troops will be deployed to Afghanistan in order to protect or evacuate British citizens currently residing in the country. This news comes following the advance of the Taliban into a number of major cities within the country.
The USA have also announced their intent to deploy around 3000 troops, and both Canada and Germany have also made statements encouraging citizens to evacuate as soon as possible.
The second and third largest Afghan cities have now been captured by the Taliban, as their stronghold edges closer to the capital city of Kabul, with 12 of the 34 provincial capitals now under the control of insurgents.
Sobering predictions coming out of the United States suggest the Afghan government could fall to the Taliban within 30 days, in a worst-case scenario, in a blow to plans to completely withdraw Western troops by the middle of September.
Between 150 and 170 British troops are still on the ground in the country and will begin being evacuated by the end of the week, alongside around 4000 Afghan citizens who have supported British efforts within the country since their initial military campaign began in 2001. Current plans suggest commercial planes are to be used, but there is potential for RAF planes to be added to the effort to speed up the process.
UN estimates suggest at least 1000 civilians have been killed within fighting in Afghanistan during the last month, with camps being set up close to borders to house those displaced by the fighting. Labour politicians have expressed their support for the government’s decision to send troops into the region, with former serving soldier and Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat, expressing his disappointment at the decision to withdraw troops in the first place.