U.K. ending its Afghanistan evacuation operation this weekend

The U.K. has been among America's strongest allies during the past 20 years in Afghanistan.
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British troops sent to help with Afghanistan evacuation
British troops sent to help with Afghanistan evacuation
(Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

The United Kingdom has ended its airlift evacuation efforts from Afghanistan on Saturday, departing with a group of Afghan allies. 

Britain's ambassador to Afghanistan, Laurie Bristow, said their troops will be next to leave the country and that it's "time to close this phase of the operation," according to the Associated Press.

The British Defense Ministry said their goal is to get the remaining flights out of Afghanistan this weekend carrying troops and diplomats, though many U.K. and Afghan citizens will be left behind. 

The British were able to evacuate more than 13,700 Afghan and British citizens so far, according to The Hill.

"But we haven't forgotten the people who still need to leave," Bristow said. "We'll continue to do everything we can to help them. Nor have we forgotten the brave, decent people of Afghanistan. They deserve to live in peace and security."

U.K. Defense minister Ben Wallace estimated that between 800 and 1,100 Afghan allies along with 100 to 150 British citizens have been left behind, though in some cases it was by choice, according to the outlet.

"It is with deep regret that not everyone has been able to be evacuated during this process," Wallace said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the U.K. will "shift heaven and earth" to continue helping Afghans who want out even after troops are withdrawn.