By James Landale & Joseph Lee
(BBC) – The UK Foreign Office’s handling of the Afghan evacuation after the Taliban seized Kabul was dysfunctional and chaotic, a whistleblower has said.
Raphael Marshall said the process of choosing who could get a flight out was arbitrary and thousands of emails with pleas for help went unread.
The then Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was slow to make decisions, he added.
Mr Raab told the BBC lessons would be learned but the UK did a good job compared to other countries.
He said 15,000 people were evacuated by the UK from Afghanistan in two weeks, “the biggest operation in living memory” and a larger number than any nation except the US.
Mr Raab said the criticism of his decision-making was from a “relatively junior desk officer” but the main challenges were in verifying the identities of applicants on the ground and safely escorting them to the airport in Kabul, not in making decisions from Whitehall.
Other criticisms were “rather dislocated from the operational pressures and conditions”, he said.
“I don’t doubt there were challenges, I don’t doubt there will be lessons to be learned but if you look at the facts, I think we did a good job by recent standards of evacuations and by international comparisons,” he told BBC Breakfast.