UK criticism of Afghan evacuation

The British government was accused, Tuesday, of the failed management of the evacuation of Afghanistan in August after the return of the Taliban, as eyewitnesses denounced its lack of preparation and neglect of Afghan civilians.

After listening to a number of British diplomatic officials, the Chairman of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Tom Tugendhat, estimated that the country’s response to the crisis had been to “abandon” the Afghans.

Raphael Marshall, who worked for the Foreign Office during the crisis, warned that of the 75,000-150,000 Afghans who wanted to flee with the British programme, only 5% received assistance due to the “chaotic” response from London.

According to him, thousands of emails asking for help were not read because the crisis center did not have enough resources.

Tom Tugendhat, who served in Afghanistan, celebrated the “powerful and compelling” testimony that “highlighted the fundamental failures.”

Much of the questioning has focused on the fact that from August 9 to 26, at the height of the crisis, both Minister Dominic Raab and the Ministry’s top official, Philip Barton, were on leave.

Now the Minister of Justice, Raab has been attacked for not curtailing his vacation on Crete, Greece’s largest island. He stressed on Sky News that he was keen at all times to have the “necessary resources”.

In turn, he admitted to Commission Philip Barton: “If I could do it again, I would have gone back before my leave,” though he argued that Kabul’s fall during his vacation “was not inevitable” and that his presence would not make the difference.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson defended on television that the airlift allowed 15,000 people to be evacuated from Kabul after the capital was occupied on August 15.

He also denied the “completely absurd” accusation that he personally intervened to ensure the animals were evacuated from a shelter run by a former British soldier.

Barton denied that these animals have replaced people.

phz / spe / mm / dbh / atm

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