The British Foreign Office denied an internal document that painted a bleak picture of the situation in Afghanistan in the weeks before the fall of Kabul, inconsistent with its official position or intelligence-based assessments.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, reports that the document warned Afghanistan to become the Taliban faster than expected were “false and misleading.”
Minister of Foreign Affairs Dominic Raab said at a barbecue of the Special Committee on Foreign Affairs on Wednesday that before the control of the Afghan government quickly collapsed in mid-August, the British government’s main assessment was that Kabul is unlikely to fall in 2021.
However, the chairman of the committee, Tom Tughendhat, waved a copy of the so-called primary risk register released on July 22, which he said indicated that the crash could happen sooner.
The document-which was not made publicly available because it was classified as “sensitive information”-was also obtained by media channels.
According to the Guardian, the document stated that “peace talks are deadlocked and NATO withdrawal caused the Taliban to advance rapidly. This could lead to: the fall of cities, the collapse of security forces, the return of the Taliban to power, large-scale displacement, and major humanitarian needs. The security situation has deteriorated and the embassy may need to be closed.”
However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (FCDO) stated that the purpose of the document has not been understood and the information has been distorted.
“The main risk register is the standard monthly report of the management committee and does not contain intelligence assessment,” an FCDO spokesperson told The Epoch Times via email. “This is an internal document that lists the organization’s potential risks for planning purposes, including around the employee’s duty of care.”
The spokesperson added: “The suggestion that this document is inconsistent with our detailed assessment of the situation in Afghanistan or our public position throughout the crisis is completely false and misleading. The July document clearly shows that we were at the time. The central plan assumes that the peace process in Afghanistan will continue for another six months.”
Raab told the committee that the core assessment of the British government is that Kabul is “unlikely” to fall in 2021.
He told members of Congress: “The central assessment we are conducting is of course also supported by the JIC (Joint Intelligence Committee) and the military. The most likely core proposition is to consider that the army will withdraw at the end of August. It has steadily deteriorated, and Kabul is unlikely to fall this year.”
Raab said that contingency plans and tests were conducted for such assessments, and added: “NATO allies broadly agree with this.”
PA contributed to this report
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times