Dominic Raab left it to a deputy minister to decide on the rescue of Afghan translators while on vacation.
The foreign minister defended the continuation of his stay in Crete when the Taliban advanced by insisting that he was “working tirelessly” from his five-star beach resort.
But today, new details may be revealed about how the Secretary of State in charge of the Pacific was to be called in to give orders for the evacuation from Afghanistan.
Foreign minister defended the continuation of his stay in Crete as the Taliban advanced by insisting he was “working tirelessly” from his five-star beach resort
Despite Mr Raab’s claim that he was working while on holiday, the paper was forwarded to Lord Goldsmith
As the Taliban approached Kabul, officials asked ministers for advice on the plan to rescue Afghans working for the British government.
In a submission on Aug. 13 — two days before the capital fell — diplomats asked for clarity about how the rules should be applied in practice to those desperately trying to flee.
Despite Mr Raab’s claim that he was working while on holiday, the paper was forwarded to Lord Goldsmith.
The minister, who covers the Pacific and divides his time with the environmental agency, responded on August 14 with his instructions.
The revelation that it was up to Lord Goldsmith to take charge of the plan to help Afghan translators will add to the pressure on the beleaguered foreign secretary and raise new questions about what exactly he was doing the weekend Kabul fell.
The Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy was established in April to help Afghans whose lives were endangered by the Taliban for working for the British.
The revelation that it was up to Lord Goldsmith to take charge of the plan to help Afghan translators
It is understood that the filing was made by officials to obtain ministerial approval on the precise details of how the eligibility criteria should be used in light of the rapidly deteriorating situation.
After it was drafted on the evening of August 13, further advice was sought from officials.
The next morning, instead of going to Mr Raab to make a decision, it was sent to Lord Goldsmith around 9:00 am. He responded five hours later.
The Mail revealed last month that Mr Raab had been advised by senior officials while on vacation to call his Afghan counterpart to seek help in airlifting the country from translators working for British forces.
But he did not, and the call was delegated to Lord Goldsmith – although it ultimately never took place.
Mr Raab eventually flew back after Kabul fell and arrived back in the UK in the early hours of August 16. He has since admitted “in hindsight” that he should have come back sooner.
But he has insisted it was “nonsense” that he was “lazing on the beach or paddleboarding in the ocean” on the last day of his vacation.
“The sea wasn’t open because it was a red flag, so no one was paddle boarding,” he said.
The foreign minister has maintained that he was in talks with international partners in the days leading up to the Taliban’s seizure of Kabul, but the foreign ministry has been unable to provide details of any talks with its international counterparts.
The only public record of a conversation he had with a global partner while on vacation is after the insurgents entered the Afghan capital when he spoke to his counterpart in Pakistan.
The Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy was established in April to help Afghans whose lives were endangered by the Taliban for working for the British. Pictured is former Afghan interpreter Wazir, 31.
When Mr Raab was put to the test by MPs this week, it was revealed that he had gone on holiday after his own department warned that Afghanistan was on the brink.
A document obtained by the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee had reported “rapid progress” by extremists that could lead to “the fall of cities, collapse of security forces” [and] the Taliban back in power’.
The State Department’s assessment was produced on July 22 — more than three weeks before Kabul fell.
Raab, who is now on a diplomatic mission in Pakistan, refused to say 11 times exactly when he was on vacation.
A Foreign Office spokesperson said last night: “This was a clear decision that did not require the approval of the Secretary of State and was therefore dealt with in accordance with the widely used Whitehall system of ministers on duty, with a decision to be made in less than five hours was taken.’
Dominic Raab contradicts Boris Johnson over speed of Taliban takeover of Afghanistan
Even the Taliban were “overwhelmed” by the speed of their takeover of Afghanistan, Dominic Raab claimed yesterday.
In comments contradicting Boris Johnson, the Secretary of State emphasized that there was a “general widespread surprise” at the pace of the militant group that moved across the country and captured Kabul.
But the prime minister had said on Thursday that it had been “clear for many months” that the situation could change quickly.
And Defense Secretary Ben Wallace claimed in July he claimed the “game was over.”
Kabul was taken by the Taliban on Aug. 15 while Mr. Raab was on vacation at the luxury Amirandes Hotel (pictured) in Crete and his claim about the speed of the takeover contradicted the Prime Minister
Raab, who is visiting Pakistan on a diplomatic mission to ensure safe passage for the stranded British and Afghans, said yesterday: “The takeover, I think it’s fair to say, was faster than anyone expected, not only the United Kingdom or its NATO allies.
“And I suspect the Taliban and ordinary Afghans were taken by surprise.”
The foreign minister has previously said the intelligence and military advice was that the capital was unlikely to fall this year.
He added that it would instead see a “steady deterioration” from when foreign troops withdrew in late August.
However, Kabul was taken by the Taliban on 15 August while Mr. Raab was on vacation at the luxury Amirandes Hotel in Crete and his claim about the speed of the takeover contradicted the Prime Minister.
Mr Johnson said: ‘I think it has been clear for months that the situation can move very quickly and that was part of the intelligence briefing.
There have also been suggestions that the Afghan national defense force could last longer. But logically you can see what happened.’