World News

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has just spoken to the media in London after chairing a meeting of the government’s emergency committee, Cobra.

He condemns the attack and says those responsible were “despicable”.

He pays tribute to the members of the US military who were killed.
“We extend our condolences both to the United States of America and the people of Afghanistan.
He says the British will continue with the evacuation. It was near its end anyway, he says. He says the majority of Afghans due to be evacuated have already been evacuated.

Q: Has today’s attack made any difference to the timing? Ben Wallace, the defence secretary, said today that there were still 1,500 Afghans waiting to be flown to the UK.

Johnson says he has just chaired Cobra, and they concluded that the evacuation effort would continue.

He says they are gong to “keep going up until the last moment”.
But he says the government will continue to expect the Taliban to carry on letting people leave. It will use what means it has to encourage this.

Q: You encouraged Afghans to be at the airport. They were almost sitting ducks? By continuing, aren’t you putting more of them at risk?
Johnson says the military have been preparing for the evacuation for months.

He says they always knew that this was a moment where there would be “particular vulnerabilities to terrorism, to opportunistic terrorist attacks”.

This was something they prepared for, he says.
The government will carry on. The UK has evacuated the equivalent of a largish town, like Dorking, he says.

Q: What did you make of the Taliban’s statement condemning the attack. (See 5.34pm)

Johnson says there were almost certainly members of the Taliban who were killed. So it shows the difficulty any government will have in running Afghanistan, he says.

He says the government wants to move to the second phase, where the UK and others will engage with the Taliban, to try to get a process going that will lead to an inclusive administration.