First Afghanistan arrivals land in UK after PM’s pledge to take 20,000 refugees

The first rescue mission carrying Afghan evacuees and stranded Brits has landed safely in the UK after escaping the clutches of the Taliban, say reports.

An RAF Airbus KC2 Voyager aircraft landed at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, on Tuesday, after a dramatic escape from Kabul.

The plane, said to be carrying Brit personnel and Afghan interpreters is one of a number of flights expected to land in the next few days as evacuation efforts continue.

In horrifying scenes on Monday crowds of Afghans desperate to flee the Taliban were filmed chasing down jets along the runway with some clinging to the wheels of a US military plane.

Distressing video showed desperate stowaways plunging to their deaths from a plane as it left Kabul.

The Mail Online reports that trapped Afghan translators claimed militant gunmen wanted to kill them before they could board RAF mercy flights.

Several interpreters said they were hiding with their young families near to the airfield in Kabul, but couldn’t get to safety because of Taliban checkpoints.

At least 12 military flights were said to have taken off from Kabul on Tuesday, including three UK planes.

Despite hopes the UK would extract more than 1,000 people per day, numbers have so far fallen short. About 150 Brit nationals came out on Sunday, along with 289 Afghan nationals over the last week.

Mr Raab said on Tuesday a further 350 British and Afghan nationals were set to be evacuated “over the next 24 hours”.