The first Afghan evacuees have landed in UK following pledge to take in 20,000 refugees

(Image credit: POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The first flight carrying Afghan evacuees has landed safely in the UK.

An RAF Airbus KC2 Voyager aircraft carrying British nationals, embassy staff and evacuees landed at an RAF base in Brize Norton, southern England at around 11pm yesterday evening.

It's been confirmed that Britain will be dispensing 900 soldiers back to Afghanistan over the coming week to help with 'repatriations and evacuations'.

Thousands have been trying to flee the country after the Taliban took control on Sunday. Many have been left fearing for both their freedom and their lives.

As part of the ongoing efforts, it's been confirmed that British troops will aim to evacuate 20,000 Afghan evacuees via the capital Kabul.

Photographers captured passengers peering through the windows and waving to the cameras as the plane touched down last night, with some giving press on the tarmac a thumbs up.

Since the Taliban takeover, horrifying scenes of people trying to cling onto US military planes and chase jets down a runway to escape have been surfacing online.

The videos are highly distressing and show many victims falling to their deaths as the aircraft takes off.

It has also been reported that the Taliban are using force to reprimand anyone trying to leave Kabul, beating those who try to flee.

Royal Navy Vice Admiral Sir Ben Key yesterday said that the timelines for evacuation are unclear - but they will do their best to get as many people to safety as possible.

Speaking on Sky News, he said: "How long have we got to do it? We don’t really know, so every day we are working as hard as we can to bring as many forward into this pipeline as we possibly can."

"Clearly there is a dynamic political situation running across the city. We make no assumptions about that other than we really can’t afford to pause and wait."

Flights from Kabul airport offer the only means of escape from the city, and despite the Taliban promising 'safe passage' for anyone who wishes to leave, it's believed they have set up roadblocks on the only road to the airport and been beating individuals attempting to reach the airport.

US national security adviser, Jake Sullivan said that ‘there have been instances where we have received reports of people being turned away or pushed back or even beaten’.

He continued: "We are taking that up in a channel with the Taliban to try to resolve those issues. We are concerned about whether that will continue to unfold in the coming days."

For more information about how to help those in need in Afghanistan right now, read our guide.

Ally Head
Senior Health, Sustainability and Relationships Editor

Ally Head is Marie Claire UK's Senior Health, Sustainability, and Relationships Editor, nine-time marathoner, and Boston Qualifying runner. Day-to-day, she works across site strategy, features, and e-commerce, reporting on the latest health updates, writing the must-read health and wellness content, and rounding up the genuinely sustainable and squat-proof gym leggings worth *adding to basket*. She's won a BSME for her sustainability work, regularly hosts panels and presents for events like the Sustainability Awards, and is a stickler for a strong stat, too, seeing over nine million total impressions on the January 2023 Wellness Issue she oversaw. Follow Ally on Instagram for more or get in touch.