Details of local British embassy workers left on ground in Kabul as officials fled building
CVs from job applicants and contact details of people working for the Foreign Office were left behind at the British embassy in Afghanistan
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The Foreign Office has defended its Afghanistan embassy staff after documents identifying Afghan workers and job applicants were found left on the ground at the British diplomatic mission in Kabul.
The Foreign Affairs Select Committee is set to launch an inquiry after a journalist with The Times found the papers with contact details of seven Afghans on Tuesday on a tour through the city’s abandoned diplomatic quarter while accompanied by a Taliban patrol.
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At a glance: 5 key points
- The documents included the name and address of a senior embassy staff member, other staff members and their contact details, and the CVs and addresses of applicants for jobs as interpreters
- The Times says it called the numbers listed and found some of the staff members had already been evacuated to the UK, but that other staff had been left behind
- Among those were three Afghan staff and eight family members, including five children, who were caught in crowds at Kabul airport unable to access the British-controlled section of the facility. They were, however, eventually found and rescued
- The fate of at least two job applicants whose details were left on the ground at the embassy remains unknown
- The apparent blunder, made as staff hastily abandoned the embassy when the Taliban reclaimed Kabul, appeared to ignore evacuation protocols of shredding and destroying all data that could compromise local workers
What’s been said
“The Foreign Office appeared to have lost these staff, and their evacuation only occurred after their details were passed on by The Times,” the newspaper reported.
The Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has acknowledged the apparent error, but said staff had tried to destroy sensitive material before leaving the embassy.
“We have worked tirelessly to secure the safety of those who worked for us in Afghanistan and continue to do so. Crucially we have now been able to get these three families to safety,” a FCDO spokesperson said.
“The drawdown of our Embassy was done at pace as the situation in Kabul deteriorated. Every effort was made to destroy sensitive material.”
Dozens of people have been killed and injured, including children, following a series of attacks by ISIS militants at Kabul Airport, where frantic evacuation efforts have been underway following the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban.
Senior US military sources have confirmed that an attack took place at about 6pm local time involving at least two explosions and gunfire at Hamid Karzai Airport, near sites which are being used to process evacuation by Western nations, including the UK.
Officials have said at least 13 US troops were killed alongside 60 Afghan nationals, while more than 150 people were injured, including 15 US service personnel, in a “complex attack” on Thursday outside Hamid Karzai International Airport.
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