Afghanistan latest: Boris Johnson and Angela Merkel agree 'need for international effort'

Prime Minister Boris Johnson with the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, before their bilateral meeting at Chequers, the country house of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, in Buckinghamshire. Picture date: Friday July 2, 2021.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson with the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, before their bilateral meeting at Chequers, the country house of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, in Buckinghamshire. Picture date: Friday July 2, 2021.

The two world leaders 'welcomed the UK, German and wider NATO shared efforts to evacuate vulnerable people from Afghanistan over the last two weeks'.

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Boris Johnson and Angela Merkel agreed on the "need for an international effort" in Afghanistan during a phone call this morning.

A Downing Street spokesperson said the two world leaders "welcomed the UK, German and wider NATO shared efforts to evacuate vulnerable people from Afghanistan over the last two weeks".

In a statement, they added: “They agreed on the need for an international effort in the weeks ahead to prevent a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. The Prime Minister outlined the UK’s enduring commitment to the country, including doubling aid to the region this year.

“The Prime Minister and Chancellor resolved to work, alongside the rest of the G7, to put in place the roadmap on dealing with any new Afghan government discussed at last week’s leaders’ meeting.

A RAF Voyager aircraft carrying members of the British armed forces 16 Air Assault Brigade arrives at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, as they return from helping in operations to evacuate people from Kabul airport in Afghanistan. Picture date: Saturday August 28, 2021.
A RAF Voyager aircraft carrying members of the British armed forces 16 Air Assault Brigade arrives at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, as they return from helping in operations to evacuate people from Kabul airport in Afghanistan. Picture date: Saturday August 28, 2021.

"The Prime Minister stressed that any recognition and engagement with the Taliban must be conditional on them allowing safe passage for those who want to leave the country and respecting human rights.”

Merkel also spoke to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Her office said Merkel, Johnson and Rutte were all agreed that organising the departure of nationals, local support staff and Afghans in need of protection was still a top priority.

Afghan evacuees debark a C-17 Globemaster lll August 23, 2021, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Picture taken August 23, 2021.
Afghan evacuees debark a C-17 Globemaster lll August 23, 2021, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Picture taken August 23, 2021.

"The Chancellor and the Prime Ministers also discussed possible political and diplomatic options with regard to the departure of diplomatic staff, necessary due to the security situation," a German government spokesperson said.

It comes as the last flight headed to the UK purely for Afghan nationals left Kabul airport overnight.

Any further flights which will now leave Kabul under the UK’s evacuation operation will have UK diplomatic and military personnel on board.

Britain's ambassador to Afghanistan, Sir Laurie Bristow, said it is "time to close this phase" of the evacuation process.

It’s time to close this phase of the operation now, but we haven’t forgotten the people who still need to leave

Sir Laurie Bristow, Britain's ambassador to Afghanistan

In a video posted on Twitter, Sir Laurie – who has remained in Afghanistan processing refugees – said: “The team here have been working until the very last moment to evacuate British nationals, Afghans and others at risk.

“Since the 13th of August, we’ve brought nearly 15,000 people to safety, and about 1,000 military, diplomatic, civilian personnel have worked on Operation Pitting in Kabul, many, many more elsewhere.

“Thursday’s terrorist attack was a reminder of the difficult and dangerous conditions in which Operation Pitting has been done. And sadly I attended here yesterday the ceremony to pay our respects to the 13 US soldiers who died.

“It’s time to close this phase of the operation now, but we haven’t forgotten the people who still need to leave. We’ll continue to do everything we can to help them. Nor have we forgotten the brave, decent people of Afghanistan. They deserve to live in peace and security.”