UK to relocate Afghan embassy to Qatar

UK to relocate Afghan embassy to Qatar
3 min read
29 August, 2021
As the British ambassador to Afghanistan returns to the UK, it was announced that the embassy would be relocated to Qatar for the time being.
The ambassador landed at RAF Brize Norton [Getty]

The UK has announced that it will relocate its Afghan embassy to Qatar, as its ambassador Sir Laurie Bristow lands back in the UK in one of the last flights out of the crisis stricken country. 

The ambassador, who took up the position in June, was seen disembarking a plane at the British airbase RAF Brize Norton.

"We have had to leave Afghanistan for now and the embassy will operate from Qatar for the time being, but we will continue to stand by the people of Afghanistan, working on humanitarian, diplomatic and security work and above all bringing to the UK Afghans and British nationals who still need our support, and we will be putting pressure on the Taliban to allow safe passage for those people," the ambassador said in a video on Twitter.

"We'll reopen the embassy as soon as we can, we'll do everything we can to protect the gains of the last 20 years," he added. 

This week, the UK ended its military presence in Afghanistan after 20 years. 

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Prior to his departure, the ambassador assisted efforts to secure the evacuation of approximately 15,000 people from Afghanistan, following the Taliban lightening offensive, which resulted in them retaking control of the country. 

Vice Admiral Sir Ben Key, who ran the UK's evacuation from Afghanistan, praised the efforts of the British soldiers who were working in the country, but admitted that they were not able to secure an exit for everyone.

"We know that there are some really sad stories of people who have desperately tried to leave that - no matter how hard our efforts - we have been unsuccessful in evacuating," said Key. 

"Some of the pictures that have come back in the last few days have painted a really good impression of just how desperate and difficult those conditions have been in the last few weeks," he continued. 

UK's defence ministry tweeted on Saturday that the "final flight carrying UK Armed Forces personnel has left Kabul", posting photos of drawn and tired-looking soldiers entering a plane.

In a tribute to the troops, the ministry wrote: "To all those who served so bravely under enormous pressure and horrendous conditions to safely evacuate the most vulnerable of civilians: Thank you." 

Several British nationals waiting outside the airport were among those killed in a bomb attack on Thursday, claimed by Islamic State militants.

The BBC reported Saturday that a taxi driver from London, Mohammad Niazi, was killed while his wife and two of their children were missing.

Foreign minister Dominic Raab said on Friday that two British nationals and the child of another British citizen were killed. It was not clear whether this figure included Niazi.