UK Government Knew Taliban Would Overrun Afghanistan, Leaked Documents Suggest
Leaked documents suggest the UK Government knew more than three weeks prior to the fall of Kabul that a rapid Taliban advance could see Afghan security forces collapse, and foresaw the creation of a significant humanitarian crisis.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was confronted by the internal Foreign Office (FCDO) report while making an appearance before a parliamentary committee.
Raab has now been accused of being ‘asleep at the wheel’ after having assured MPs that the central assessment produced by the Joint Intelligence Committee was that Kabul would not be overrun by the Taliban until next year.
As reported by The Independent, the Principal Risk Report paper was presented before the FCDO’s management board on July 22, just 24 days before Taliban militants entered Kabul. This was also at least a fortnight before Raab travelled to Crete for his family holiday.
The document gave the following urgent warning:
Peace talks are stalled and US/Nato withdrawal is resulting in rapid Taliban advances. This could lead to the fall of cities, collapse of security forces, Taliban return to power, mass displacement and significant humanitarian need. The embassy may need to close if security deteriorates.
During the parliamentary committee meeting, Commons Foreign Affairs Committee chair Tom Tugendhat confronted Raab with the document. The foreign secretary at first seemed confused by the information, asking Tugendhat, ‘Sorry, the source of that?’
When informed that the source was in fact his own risk report, Raab responded, ‘Yeah, well, as I said, of course we are very mindful of that’. However, he did not give a response when Tugendhat asked to know how foreign policy had changed in accordance with the warning.
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