(FiveNation.com)- Last week before the bombings outside of Kabul airport and the Baron Hotel, Britain’s defense secretary Ben Wallace told members of Parliament on Wednesday that Afghans who want to flee to Britain might be better off trying to make it across the border than to wait for RAF evacuation.
Wallace said that as it was, few places remained on British rescue flights. And due to the intelligence that there was a high risk of terror attacks on the airport, the bolstered security would make it more difficult to get through.
Like the US, the British Foreign Office Wednesday warned people not to travel to the airport citing security threats. Hours later, two bombs exploded killing over 180, including thirteen US service members.
During the tense briefing with members of Parliament on Wednesday, Wallace was grilled about what would happen to those Afghans who have been offered student places or fellowships in the UK, but have yet to evacuate.
Wallace’s recommendation was they try and “make it to the border.” However, Afghans that were told to travel to the airport in Kabul for evacuation should not alter their plans.
After the briefing, Defense sources said that Wallace recommending Afghans try to get to the UK over land and across the border is “not a message of despair.” Such schemes to resettle translators and others would continue as long as needed.
Before Thursday’s bombings, the RAF had evacuated 11,474 people since the fall of Kabul. Since the US intends to keep the August 31 deadline, western forces wrapped up their evacuation efforts several days earlier.
While Turkey had been in talks with the Taliban about remaining on in Kabul, on Wednesday it announced it began to withdraw some of the several hundred forces remaining before the August 31 deadline.
Those unable to travel to the airport to leave Afghanistan will have no recourse but to try and cross the border into neighboring countries like Pakistan or Iran. The UK hopes to set up “third country” processing centers for those Afghans with resettlement or asylum claims, however, it is unclear how this would work.