Britain’s SAS troops in Afghanistan to rescue Brits after Taliban take Kabul

Britain's crack troops landed in Afghanistan last night on an SOS mission to rescue thousands of stranded Brits.

Elite soldiers from the 16 Air Assault Brigade – the Army’s specially trained rapid reaction task force – were scrambled to Kabul as it fell to the Taliban.

Gun-toting militants posed for photos inside the presidential palace and vowed to declare the country the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

President Ashraf Ghani was in hiding as Taliban chiefs called for a “peaceful transfer of power” and said there would be “no revenge” for two decades of Western rule since 9/11.

But the group’s spokesman phoned the BBC live on air to state strict sharia law would be imposed.

Every foreigner in Kabul was told to either leave or register their presence with Taliban administrators.

After chairing an emergency Cobra meeting in Downing Street, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the Government’s priority was to get 6,000 Brit diplomats, citizens and Afghan translators out “as fast as we can”.

He said the UK was determined to deliver on its obligations to those Afghans who had helped its efforts to stabilise the region.

Last night troops from 16 Air Assault Brigade were in Kabul to lead the evacuation – codenamed Operation Pitting.

Soldiers from the unit – formed in 1999 and based in Colchester, Essex – have completed multiple tours of Afghanistan in the past.

The unit landed after Bagram air base – which held captured Islamic State and Taliban fighters – surrendered yesterday despite hundreds of billions of dollars spent by the US and Nato to build up Afghanistan’s security forces.

Speaker of the House Sir Lindsay Hoyle granted a request by the Government to recall Parliament at 9.30am on Wednesday to discuss the crisis.

MP Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the Commons Defence Committee, urged the PM to lead the world by convening an emergency conference of “like-minded nations” to combat the Taliban’s resurgence.

Mr Ellwood wants the Government to send the Royal Navy’s HMS Queen Elizabeth carrier strike group.

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US president Joe Biden increased the number of US troops deployed to safeguard the 10,000 American citizens feared stranded in Kabul to 5,000.

A report into the 20-year conflict revealed 455 Brit troops were killed.

Another 293 were very seriously injured and, 298 seriously injured.

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