Dominic Raab accused of putting bureaucracy over humanity during Afghanistan evacuation

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A whistleblower from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has claimed slow decision-making by Dominic Raab, 47, led to families being left in Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover of Kabul. Former FCDO desk officer Raphael Marshall estimated over 95 percent of people who applied to be evacuated were unable to flee Afghanistan.

Mr Marshall estimates between 75,000 and 150,000 people applied to be evacuated to the Afghan Special Cases team through the so-called Leave Outside the Rules category.

Conservative MP and chair of the Commons’ Foreign Affairs Committee Tom Tugendhat said Mr Marshall’s account revealed the Foreign Office put “bureaucracy over humanity” and showed a “lack of interest” at the head of the department.

The Tonbridge & Malling MP added such allegations are “serious and go to the heart of the failures of leadership around the Afghan disaster”.

“These failures”, Mr Tugenhadt continued, “betrayed our friends and allies and squandered decades of British and NATO effort.

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“The evidence we’ve heard alleges dysfunction within the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and substantial failings throughout the Afghanistan evacuation effort.”

The whistleblower’s account claims Mr Raab failed to respond “for several hours” to pending evacuation requests sent by civil servants.

One case included an Afghan soldier who was eligible for evacuation but his adult children were not.

Speaking about that case, Mr Marshall said: “I believe this family did not succeed in entering the airport.”

He added: “The bureaucratic delay may have been a factor.”

Mr Raab came under pressure during the Afghanistan crisis as he failed to cut short his holiday in Crete when the Taliban takeover was in full flow.

But Mr Marshall also claimed the Esher and Walton MP requested all cases be set out in a “well-presented table to make decisions”.

Mr Marshall claimed Mr Raab’s decision shows the ex-Foreign Secretary did “not fully understand the situation”.

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He added: “Firstly there was very little time left for anyone to enter the airport, therefore Foreign Secretary’s choice to cause a delay suggests he did not understand the desperate situation at Kabul Airport.

“Secondly, the Foreign Secretary’s reluctance to authorise any exception to our prioritisation process indicates he did not understand the, at best highly approximate, nature of our process.”

Despite the whistleblower’s allegations, a Government source is reported to have said: “We evacuated over 500 special cases, including journalists, women’s rights activists and extremely vulnerable individuals.

“The major practical challenge to evacuation was verifying identity and securing safe passage to the airport, not the speed of decision making. At all times, the team’s focus was on saving lives.”

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