Last week, Dominic Raab rejected claims that he was “paddle-boarding” on holiday as the Taliban* advanced on the Afghan capital Kabul.
Former British Army generals have called on Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to resign over the accusations he hampered the UK’s evacuation efforts in Afghanistan.
Late last week, UK media outlets reported that Raab’s alleged reluctance to return earlier from his holiday in Crete kept at least 1,000 Afghans, including translators, from being evacuated to Britain.
Retired Major General Charlie Herbert, a former senior NATO adviser to the Afghan Ministry of Interior, said on Sunday that “the lack of information being provided to those eligible personnel abandoned in Afghanistan is utterly disgraceful”.
REUTERS / HANNAH MCKAYBritain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab walks outside Downing Street, in London, Britain, August 16, 2021
Herbert insisted that “if Dominic Raab is not up to the task in hand he must stand down now and let someone else deal with this [Afghan] crisis”.
He accused Defence Secretary Ben Wallace of “utterly” betraying “those of us who served alongside our interpreters, and our hearts are broken”.
The same tone was struck by Richard Dannatt, the head of the UK Army from 2006 to 2009, who told Times Radio about “the particular issue of those who we knew were in danger, people who had worked for us, interpreters, former locally-engaged civilians”.
REUTERS / HANDOUTBritish Armed Forces take part in Kabul airport evacuation
Dannatt said it was “unfathomable why it would appear that the government was asleep on watch” after warnings that thousands of Afghan interpreters and other staff who cooperated with the UK military should get refuge following the western troop exit from Afghanistan.
Echoing her was Julie Smith, Liberal Democrat defence spokeswoman in the House of Lords, who said that “Dominic Raab should consider his position”.
“Even since his delayed return from Crete I don’t think Mr Raab has been fully engaged”, she argued.
Raab Rejects ‘Paddle-Boarding’ Allegations
The remarks came a few days after the foreign secretary denied allegations he was “paddle-boarding” at sea during his holiday amid the Taliban’s offensive on the Afghan capital Kabul.
This followed Prime Minister Boris Johnson telling reporters he “absolutely” has confidence in the foreign secretary and insisting the government works “virtually around the clock” to help evacuate people from Afghanistan.
Raab is currently under pressure to step down as he faces accusations that he, when vacationing in Crete, delegated a crucial call to his Afghan counterpart to discuss the evacuation of Afghan interpreters amid the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan.
The foreign secretary explained last week that a 13 August “recommendation” to communicate with then-Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar was “quickly overtaken by events”.
On 15 June, the Taliban entered Kabul without firing a shot, calling for a peaceful transfer of power and declaring “the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan”, something that prodded scores of Afghans to flood the Kabul Airport in a bid to leave the country.