Afghanistan latest: ‘We don’t know how many we left behind’, admits Foreign Office

Afghanistan: Plea for help as those left in 'serious situation'

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Mr Cleverly said the “vast, vast bulk” of British nationals had now left the war-torn country. But up to 1,100 Afghans eligible under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (Arap) scheme are estimated not to have made it on to flights out. And the size of a wider group of citizens who face reprisals from the Taliban is not known.

Mr Cleverly said: “That’s an impossible number to put a figure on.

“We are going to continue working to get people out who fall into those groups – predominantly now, of course, it will be in that third group – people at risk of reprisals, whether they be high-profile individuals, of religious minorities or others who may be under severe risk of reprisals from the Taliban.”

The Foreign Office has come in for intense criticism over its response to the crisis.

Mr Cleverly acknowledged that emails from Afghans desperate to leave may not have been read.

He said the Government had received a “huge number of emails directly from Afghanistan and from third parties” after announcing it would help those at risk of reprisals.

He added: “We had a limited time window and limited flight availability in Kabul airport. We of course were prioritising getting people who had been processed, who were at the airport, on to planes.

“We will continue to work with those Afghans…who had not been processed when the airport closed…to get them out of the country.

“We will continue to work through the significant number of emails to try to get as many other people out as possible.”

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