Dominic Raab has told a select committee that UK intelligence thought it was “unlikely” Kabul would fall to the Taliban this year.
The Foreign Secretary, who is being questioned by MPs over his response to the crisis in Afghanistan, also said that he has never considered resigning from his position despite being on holiday in Crete while the Taliban were advancing on the Afghan capital.
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At a glance: 5 key points
- In a heated session, Mr Raab also revealed that he had not been to Afghanistan during his tenure as Foreign Secretary, and dodged questions about when he spoke with UK ambassadors to the country’s neighbouring nations.
- The Foreign Secretary said he is unsure how many people in Afghanistan who would be eligible for settlement in the UK under existing schemes have been “left behind”.
- On recognition for the Taliban, Dominic Raab said it was “important not to confer any legitimacy” on the group.
- He said that the UK started planning for a possible evacuation of Afghanistan in June.
- Dominic Raab has said he is “content with the effort” made by Government staff in the UK during the evacuation of Kabul airport.
What’s been said
“The central assessment that we were operating to, and it was certainly backed up by the JIC (Joint Intelligence Committee) and the military, is that the most likely, the central proposition, was that given the troop withdrawal by the end of August, you’d see a steady deterioration from that point and it was unlikely Kabul would fall this year.”
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on the fall of Kabul
News that Raab had been out of the country during what one MP described as the “biggest single policy disaster since Suez” was met with condemnation by many.
Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy said it was “shameful” for Raab to be absent during the crisis.
Raab had been staying at the Amirandes Hotel in Crete, a five-star resort which boasts its own private beach and “one of the biggest pools you’ll ever see”, according to its website.
The Foreign Secretary has so far defied calls to quit over his widely-criticised decision, but said “of course with the benefit of hindsight I wouldn’t have gone away”.
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