Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab defended his handling of the Afghanistan crisis, saying a controversial phone call to his Afghan counterpart was now stalled by a “rapidly deteriorating situation”.
Raab came under pressure from the Labor Party when it emerged that he was on holiday in Crete before and during the fall of Kabul. In particular, he has been criticized for handing over a phone call urgently requested by the Afghan foreign minister to discuss rescue translators.
The Foreign Office said Raab was able to handle priority issues from his leave.
Initially, the Foreign Office said the Foreign Secretary had other calls that were higher in priority, so it was delegated to other staff.
The Foreign Office now says the call was never made.
Until now, Raab had remained silent on the issue, except to answer questions about whether he would resign.
one in Statement On 19 August, Raab said: “On Friday afternoon, 13 August, my personal office (around 6 a.m. Afghan time) was recommended to call the Afghan Foreign Minister.
“It was quickly overtaken by events. The call was handed over to the Minister of State as I was prioritizing security and capacity at the airport on the direct advice of the Director General and Director overseeing the crisis response.
“In any event, the Afghan foreign minister agreed to take the call, but was unable due to the rapidly deteriorating situation.”
Raab said the government was working “tireless” to help with the evacuation. “As a result, 204 UK citizens and their families, Afghan employees and citizens of other countries were evacuated on the morning of Monday 16 August,” he said. “Since then, 1,635 have been evacuated.”
Labor has previously said there was an “unforgivable failure of leadership” from Raab and Prime Minister Boris Johnson and prepared a list of 18 urgent questions for the Foreign Secretary to answer about his leave and his department’s handling of the crisis.
Raab returned to Britain on 16 August, the day after the fall of Kabul.
Labour, shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy said, “for the prime minister and foreign secretary to be on leave during the biggest foreign policy crisis in a generation is an unforgivable failure of leadership.”
Labour, the SNP, the Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru have all called for Raab to either step down or be sacked by the prime minister.
Labor said it was specifically requesting that while Raab was out of the country and on leave from official duties, it received advice from authorities on whether to leave if the situation in Afghanistan worsened, if he was to return to Cobra on August 15. The meeting attended, and if other ministers were authorized to approve those intelligence operations immediately designated in their absence.
PA contributed to this report
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times