UK Foreign Minister acknowledges “lessons to be learned” following the abominable testimony of Afghanistan airlift


Foreign Minister Liz Truss said on Wednesday that there are “obvious” lessons to be learned from Britain’s evacuation of British and Afghan civilians from Kabul.

Some of the work overseen by the Foreign, Commonwealth Development Agency (FCDO) by whistleblowers is poorly equipped, poorly coordinated, and the prioritization process is “arbitrary and dysfunctional.” , FCDO’s crisis response structure is inadequate compared to tasks.

Parliamentary Foreign, Commonwealth Commission asked three FCDO officials on Tuesday about allegations during the parol evidence session. Chairman Tom Tugendart said the FCDO “points to leadership, urgency and lack of adequate resources.”

FCDO Vice-Minister Sir Philip Barton, one of the officials, and then Foreign Minister Dominic Raab also took a vacation and were grilled for taking a vacation on August 9, when they did not return to London until August 25. I did.

Raab has also been badly criticized for not being able to return immediately from his vacation on the Greek island of Crete. He was replaced as Foreign Minister in a cabinet reshuffle two weeks after the crisis.

“There is a clear lesson to be learned,” Truss said at the Chatham House Policy Institute on Wednesday, saying that when Kabul collapsed in the Taliban in August, there was a “heroic effort” to air 15,000 people from Afghanistan. Added.

“It’s clear that the Vice-Minister, like my predecessor, should have returned early from vacation,” she said.

Mr. Truss said he has introduced processes to address future issues, including improved risk monitoring, improved emergency response systems, and improved processes for rapid staffing in the event of a crisis.

“I’m absolutely sure that these processes are taking place in events of similar circumstances (unfortunate events),” she said.

However, the Foreign Minister said he did not underestimate the challenges faced by his predecessor.

“It is worth pointing out that the situation faced in Afghanistan was the second largest evacuation the UK has ever implemented, so do not underestimate the challenges facing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the time. Hmm.”

She added that the work of bringing qualified people from Afghanistan to the United Kingdom has not stopped and that international cooperation is needed to “stop Afghanistan from becoming a hotbed of terrorism.”

Epoch Times Photo
In this handout, provided by the Ministry of Defense, on August 21, 2021, a full flight of 265 people was evacuated from Kabul by British troops in Kabul, Afghanistan. (BenShread / MoD Crown Getty Images)

Former FCDO clerk Rafael Marshall, who worked on the Afghan Special Cases team from August 21st to August 25th, said only 5 percent of Afghanistan who applied for evacuation under the British Ring Story scheme. Estimated. “I received some support.”

Written evidence (pdfMarshall, who was submitted to the Diplomatic Commission, said he believed that 75,000 to 150,000 people (including dependents) had applied for evacuation under the LOTR scheme.

According to Marshall, the team was very understaffed at one point, and he was the only one watching the inbox to which the petition for help was directed.

When he was on the team, he said, “Usually there were always over 5,000 unread emails in my inbox, including unread emails from early August.”

“These emails were desperate and urgent. I was impressed with the many titles, including phrases such as” Save the kids, “” he said.

A 25-year-old former clerk said it was “unavoidable” to leave most of the applicants behind, giving Kabul the situation and a deadline of 31 August to complete the western withdrawal, but evacuated. The FCDO process for selecting people was not “reliable” and “avoidable bureaucratic issues” significantly delayed the “call” of priority evacuees to the airport. “

According to Marshall, the soldiers on the team did not receive the FCDO-issued computer password until a day later, and some soldiers “probably used Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Outlook for the first time in a professional context.” That is.

He also said that the criteria given to select evacuees were “very useless” and left the application screened by a junior officer with no Afghanistan-related experience without clear guidance.

Marshall argued that the lack of coordination between the FCDO, the Defense Ministry, the Interior Ministry, and between the UK and other NATO allies also contributed to the delay and the time it took Raab to review the list.

The FCDO’s crisis response structure “cannot adequately respond to the urgency, importance and complexity of the situation in Kabul, Afghanistan,” Marshall said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters on Tuesday that “the decision could have taken hours longer than we expected” during the evacuation, but “be careful about how to do that.” Must be. Still, it was amazing to have 15,000 people airlifted from Kabul. In a rather dire situation. “

PA contributed to this report.

Lily Chow


Lily Zhou is a freelance writer who mainly covers the British news of The Epoch Times.