The humanitarian airlift of 4,000 British nationals and Afghan refugees from Kabul will end within “24 to 36 hours”, defence sources have warned, as the Taliban franticly moves to prevent travel from Hamid Karzai international airport.

US president Joe Biden has rejected pleas by European leaders, including Boris Johnson, to extend his administration’s 31 August deadline for withdrawal. The last flight from Afghanistan is expected to leave by the end of the week, with priority going to 1,000 servicemen and women based in the capital. All western forces will be leaving soon after.