It was revealed that Foreign Secretary Raab was unavailable to make a crucial phone call last week while he was reportedly on holiday, as the Taliban advanced towards Afghanistan capital, reports Asian Lite Newsdesk
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is under increasing pressure to resign as it emerged that a crucial phone call to Afghanistan he was advised to make but which was given to a junior minister to handle never took place.
The government had said the call to get help evacuating interpreters from Afghanistan had been delegated as Raab was busy on other calls, the BBC reported.
However, a spokesman now says it “was not possible to arrange a call” before the Afghan government collapsed.
Opposition parties called for him to resign after it was revealed he was unavailable to make the phone call last Friday while he was on holiday, as the Taliban advanced towards Afghanistan capital.
It followed newspaper reports suggesting the foreign secretary was seen relaxing on a beach on the Greek island of Crete on Sunday – the day Kabul was captured by Taliban.
Though cabinet colleagues have defended Raab, some MPs from his own party remain unhappy with the government’s response to the crisis in Afghanistan.
On Thursday, it was reported he was advised by senior Foreign Office officials last week that he should make contact with Afghan Foreign Minister Hanif Atmar to get urgent assistance in rescuing Afghan interpreters who had worked for the British military.
Officials said it was important the call was made by Raab rather than a junior minister – but they were told he was unavailable. The Afghan foreign ministry reportedly refused to arrange a call with a junior minister, pushing it back to the next day.
And, as reported in the Daily Mail, the Foreign Office has now confirmed the call did not take place.
Raab speaks to Chinese counterpart
Amid the rapidly unfolding events in Kabul, Dominic Raab said that he had discussed the situation in Afghanistan with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
“Discussed Afghanistan with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi today. We noted the importance of addressing security concerns, regional stability and addressing the humanitarian crisis,” Raab tweeted.
Raab also exchanged views with Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne about the situation in Afghanistan.
He informed that Australia and the UK are united in evacuating people from the war-torn country and both the countries will evacuate nationals and Afghans who have worked for them.
“Spoke to Marise Payne this morning about the situation in Afghanistan. The UK & Australia are united in evacuating our nationals & Afghans who have worked for us, & working together for a coordinated international response to tackle security threats & the humanitarian crisis,” Raab said in a tweet.
A day earlier, Raab also exchanged views with his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar.
Soon after the Taliban claimed control over the Afghan capital, several countries evacuated their diplomatic personnel from the country and hundreds of people flocked to the Kabul airport in an attempt to leave Afghanistan.
Over 60 countries including the US, United Kingdom, Japan, Germany and Canada have urged “all parties” to safeguard the departure of foreign nationals and Afghans who wish to leave the war-torn country and said that roads, airports and border crossing must remain open. (with inputs from ANI)