British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Thursday, after talks with his Qatari counterpart on the situation in Afghanistan, that evacuations from Kabul airport may resume “in the near future”.

Raab is in Qatar, and talks about how the remaining British citizens and former Afghan associates in Afghanistan can leave Afghanistan. After US forces left Afghanistan, Kabul airport is currently closed.

When asked when Kabul airport will reopen, Raab replied: “I don’t think we are in a position to say anything officially at the moment, but it looks like it could happen in the near future.” He added that he had had “good talks” with the Qatari foreign minister about the “feasibility” of resuming the evacuation from the airport.

“We want to fulfill our obligations to those who have not yet been able to leave. Ideally (they left) via Kabul airport, but it has to work and it has to be safe,” Raab later told Sky News. “It is the duty of the Taliban to abide by the assurances we have received directly” to allow British citizens and legal Afghans to leave the country safely, he added.

Speaking with Raab at the conference on Thursday, Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said his country has spoken with the Taliban and is also working with Turkey to see if it can provide technical support for the resumption of operations at Kabul airport. However, he was unable to specify any specific dates. Sky News said it should be expected that it could take weeks, not days.

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During Wednesday’s hearing before parliament’s foreign affairs committee, Raab admitted it was not known exactly how many people authorized to be evacuated to the UK were still in Afghanistan, but estimated the number was “a few hundred less”.

From London Bartłomiej Niedziński (PAP)

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