The United Kingdom’s defense minister held back tears during an interview Monday, explaining that the country was unlikely to rescue all who have helped the British effort in Afghanistan now that the Taliban has toppled the government. 

“We are only now in Afghanistan, and have been for the last two weeks, to process those people,” U.K. Defense Minister Ben Wallace told LBC Radio in an interview Monday. “We’re not doing other diplomatic functions, we are simply there to process all those British passport holders and all those people we have an obligation to.”

Wallace described helping those people who aided the British effort in Afghanistan as “the very least” of the country’s obligations. But holding back tears, Wallace also added, “part of regret for me — is some people won’t get back. Some people won’t get back.”

The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has occurred with remarkable speed, leaving Americans and allies rushing to evacuate along with those who have helped the Western effort in the country over the years. Only a week ago, a Biden administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told The Washington Post that the collapse of the Afghan government to the Taliban could happen within three months. 

On Sunday, amidst the fall of Kabul, the capital, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the U.K. was focusing on its obligations to British nationals in Afghanistan and also on “all those who have helped the British effort in Afghanistan over twenty years.”

“We’re going to get as many as we can out in the next few days,” said the British leader.

Photos from the Kabul international airport show a dire scene. “Hundreds of Afghans have broken through airport security in desperate attempts to board planes leaving the country. Videos surfacing on social media show Afghans attempting to cling to the outside of U.S. planes to hitch a ride out of the country,” The Daily Wire reported. 

Commercial flights and U.S. military evacuations were halted Monday morning and repatriation efforts were paused in most allied countries.

A U.S. official, speaking to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity, said Monday morning that seven people at the airport have been confirmed dead. Two of the men were armed and shot by U.S. military personnel and another three people died after trying to cling to American aircraft. One disturbing video circulating on social media shows what may be a person falling from a plane that is already well into the air. 

Amidst the chaos, President Joe Biden has ordered an additional 1,000 troops to Kabul, bringing the total number of American military personnel ordered to help with the withdraw from the country at 7,000. According to The New York Times, the U.S. troops had roughly 3,500 troops in Afghanistan as of March 2021 — more than 1,000 more than officially disclosed at the time.

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