UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has authorised the deployment of 600 troops to Afghanistan to help British nationals evacuate the country safely.

The short-term deployment will assist British nationals working at the British Embassy in Kabul to leave Afghanistan as early as possible.

They will provide force protection and logistical support for the relocation of UK nationals where required.

The team will also help the UK’s Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP), which has already supported more than 3,100 former Afghan staff and their families moving to the UK, including 1,800 in just the last few weeks.

Simultaneously, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced that the British embassy in Kabul will be moved to a more secure location.

It will remain operational by only a core team engaged in providing visa services for those applying for the UK’s relocation scheme.

Wallace said: “I have authorised the deployment of additional military personnel to support the diplomatic presence in Kabul, assist British nationals to leave the country and support the relocation of former Afghan staff who risked their lives serving alongside us.

“The security of British nationals, British military personnel and former Afghan staff is our first priority. We must do everything we can to ensure their safety.”

Separately, the US has also decided to scale down its embassy in Kabul and temporarily deploy about 8,000 troops to aid the staff evacuation.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said that the deployment of forces is to ensure the safety of the US embassy workforce and to ease the departure of Afghans under a special immigrant visa programme.

Kirby said: “We believe that this is the prudent thing to do given the rapidly deteriorating security situation in and around Kabul.”

Last month, US President Joe Biden said that the country’s military mission in Afghanistan will conclude on 31 August this year.