That weekend when the Taliban invaded Kabul, Dominic Raab was at a five-star resort on the island of Crete. The British Foreign Secretary spent his summer vacation there. According to media reports, he was seen on the beach last Sunday. It wasn’t until Monday that Raab returned to his London office. By that time, the Taliban had already taken control of the Afghan capital.
The fact that the Secretary of State did not consider it necessary to leave his holiday home earlier drew heavy criticism in Westminster this week. The main opposition parties demanded Raab’s resignation. For example, Labor MP Lisa Nandy, in charge of foreign policy, spoke of the Conservative minister’s “unforgivable failure”: “While British forces flew into Afghanistan to save people, Dominic Raab refused to cut short his summer vacation. Government neglect would cost human lives.”
The Secretary of State let all calls for resignation bounce. However, at the beginning of the week, he admitted in an interview with the BBC that “in hindsight” he would not, of course, have gone on vacation if he had known how quickly the Taliban would advance on Kabul. And even when he was in Greece, he “constantly held meetings and spoke to foreign interlocutors.”
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Apparently Rapp didn’t want to make a phone call. Although last Friday before the fall of Kabul, high-ranking officials asked him to speak to the Afghan foreign minister about the urgent evacuation of local staff, Rapp is said to have delegated the call to a confidant. according to daily Mail The Afghan side insisted on speaking to the Minister himself.
And the State Department announced, Friday, that the phone call did not take place in the end. “Due to the rapidly changing situation, it was not possible to arrange a call before the collapse of the Afghan government,” a ministry spokesman said. Defense Secretary James Hebey told the BBC that “not a single phone call would have changed the speed of the Afghan government’s collapse or the speed with which we were able to operate the airlift”.
And reported on Friday timesThat Rapp was not only on vacation when the Taliban came to power. Three senior officials from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Interior and Defense were off duty. This is likely to fuel already harsh criticism of the government, even within the Conservative Party.
In a special session of the House of Commons this week, a large number of Tory MPs expressed their displeasure. For example, former Prime Minister Theresa May asked: “Where is cosmopolitan Britain on the streets of Kabul?” The chairman of the House of Commons foreign affairs committee, Tom Tugendhat, has also dealt harshly with the government. The old warrior in Afghanistan said that the West had lost its determination and patience to win wars. In light of the withdrawal of US forces, the Conservative politician called for a coalition of countries that “do not depend on a single ally”.
It was also Tugendhat who found crystal clear words about Rapp’s behavior on the weekend before Rapp’s return from Crete. He said he did not know how the government would react to the crisis in Afghanistan, “because we haven’t heard from the foreign minister for a week, even though this is the biggest political disaster since Suez.”
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