Afghanistan is now under Taliban leadership after the military group took control of the capital city of Kabul, on Sunday.

UK parliament will be recalled on Wednesday to discuss the worsening situation in Afghanistan.

Here is all you need to know about what is happening in the country and how you can help.

Who are the Taliban?

The Taliban are an extreme military group who say they are followers of Islam, but their beliefs are not held by the majority of Muslims.

They ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 before western military intervention.

Under their rule, they enforced their own extreme version of Sharia, or Islamic law.

During their previous five-year rule they banned education for girls, music, television and all women had to wear burkas whilst all men were made to grow beards.

They were accused of various human rights violations for harsh punishments of citizens including executions of convicted murderers and adulterers, and amputations for those found guilty of theft.

How did Britain’s involvement in Afghanistan begin?

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On October 7 2001, almost a month after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US, then-prime minister Tony Blair confirmed that British forces were involved in US-led military action against al Qaida training camps and the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Allied airstrikes began.

In November, the first UK troops were deployed to Afghanistan when Royal Marines from 40 Commando helped to secure Bagram airfield.

The 20-year war in Afghanistan saw hundreds of UK personnel suffer life-changing injuries, with more than 450 deaths recorded.

Why have the Taliban taken control?

In April, US President Joe Biden announced the remaining 2,500 US troops would leave by September 11 – the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Other Nato allies then confirmed they would follow suit, including the UK – which in May began withdrawing its remaining 750 military trainers.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said Britain had been put in a “very difficult position” to continue the mission once the US announced its decision to leave.

This withdrawal of western troops allowed the Taliban to begin taking territory across the country.

What will happen now the Taliban have taken charge?

British troops are now racing against the clock to get remaining UK nationals and their local allies out of Afghanistan following the dramatic fall of the country’s Western-backed government.

Around 4,000 British nationals and eligible Afghans are thought to be in the Kabul and in need of evacuation.

Lead elements of 16 Air Assault Brigade were working with US forces to secure Kabul airport to ensure flights can continue as Afghans and foreigners alike scramble to leave.

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Following a meeting of the Government’s Cobra emergencies committee, Boris Johnson his priority was to get UK nationals and Afghans who had worked with them out of the country “as fast as we can”.

“We are going to get as many as we can out in the next few days,” he said.

When the Operation Pitting rescue operation, involving 600 troops, was announced at the end of last week, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said it could carry on through the rest of the month.

However the speed of the Taliban advance suggests that there may only be a short window of a few days to get people out.

There was particular concern for the safety of Afghans who worked with British forces when they were in the country as interpreters and other roles amid fears of reprisals if they fall into the hands of the insurgents.

The Taliban insisted that they were seeking a peaceful takeover of power and were prepared to offer an amnesty to those who had worked with the Afghan government or with foreign governments.

However those assurances were being treated with deep scepticism by many British MPs amid reports of threats to those who remain and their families.

How have UK MP’s reacted to the situation in Afghanistan?

There is deep anger among many MPs at the way Afghanistan is being abandoned to its fate.

The chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Tom Tugendhat said it was “the biggest single foreign policy disaster” since Suez, while Defence Committee chairman Tobias Ellwood said it was a humiliation for the West.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said ministers needed to explain what they intended to do to avert a looming humanitarian crisis and prevent Afghanistan again becoming a base for international terrorism.

Former defence minister Tobias Ellwood, the Tory MP for Bournemouth East described chaotic scenes at Kabul airport – as people tried to flee the country – as “Saigon 2.0”, referencing evacuations in 1975 as the North Vietnamese army captured the city and ended the Vietnam War.

Mr Ellwood, a former British Army captain and current chairman of the Defence Select Committee, tweeted: “Chaotic exodus from Kabul airport. Apaches (helicopters) used to clear the runway.

“If this is not Saigon 2.0 I don’t know what is. Is this how we thought we’d depart Afghanistan? I repeat my call for a UK inquiry.”

Tory MP and former defence minister Johnny Mercer, who served in Afghanistan, tweeted that ministers need to “take responsibility” and Afghanistan “deserved better than the nil response this weekend”.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has admitted “some people won’t get back” from Afghanistan as a desperate struggle to get UK nationals and local allies out of the country continued.

Mr Wallace, who previously served in the Scots Guards, appeared to choke up while appearing on the LBC radio station on Monday morning as he spoke about the evacuation effort from the country, which has fallen to the Taliban following the withdrawal of Western troops.

How can I help?

News of the situation in Afghanistan has left many people in Britain feeling helpless but desperate to assist.

Save the Children have put out an emergency alert for donations to help children and families in Afghanistan.

The International Rescue Committee are appealing for funding to help continue to deliver aid in areas of conflict and support displaced people in Kabul.

UNICEF are asking for donations whilst they work on the ground reaching vulnerable children and families with essential life-saving supplies.

Other organisations working in Afghanistan that are in need of donations:

Mercy Corps

The Halo Trust


Have we missed any ways the public can help? Let us know below.