Prime Minister Boris Johnson will convene an emergency Cobra meeting this afternoon over the escalating crisis in Afghanistan.
The UK last night said it will deploy around 600 troops to the country to help evacuate British nationals as the Taliban continues its rapid advance.
The militant group today took control of the southern city of Lashkar Gah — its 18th victory. This followed the capture of Kandahar and Herat, the country’s second and third largest cities.
A No 10 spokesperson today announced the emergency meeting, saying: “The Prime Minister is convening a COBR this afternoon to discuss the current situation in Afghanistan.”
Defence secretary Ben Wallace yesterday said British troops would be sent to Afghanistan on a short-term basis “in light of the increasing violence and rapidly deteriorating security environment in the country”.
The government added that the number of staff at the British embassy in Kabul has been reduced to a core team focused on helping people to rapidly leave the country.
Any British nationals who are still in Afghanistan are encouraged to contact the embassy in Kabul as soon as possible for assistance.
The chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, who served in Afghanistan, has heavily criticised the decision to pull out troops.
In a series of emotional tweets Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat said: “If you think I’m taking the news from Afghanistan badly and personally, you’re right.”
“The decision to withdraw is like a rug pulled from under the feet of our partners. No air support, none of the maintenance crews able to service their equipment – that was done by US contractors, now gone” he added.