- James Landall and Joseph Lee
- BBC News
dysfunctional and messy. This is how a former British official described the handling of the evacuation from Afghanistan after the Taliban’s arrival in the capital, at the hands of the British Foreign Office.
Rafael Marshall said the process for choosing who could fly on a plane was arbitrary and that thousands of emails from people seeking help were not read.
He further stated that the British chancellor at the time, Dominic Raab was slow to make decisions.
In the two weeks following the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul, the British government evacuated about 15,000 people from Afghanistan.
That group included 5,000 British citizens, 8,000 Afghans, and 2,000 children.
In a statement written as evidence and issued to the Foreign Affairs Committee, Marshall revealed that up to 150,000 Afghans who were at risk due to their ties to the United Kingdom had requested their evacuation, but Less than 5% received assistance.
“It is clear that some of those left behind were killed by the Taliban,” he added.
Marshall, who served as a civilian employee at the State Department until his resignation in September, noted that the agency’s crisis center was not adequately staffed and that there was also a lack of expertise and coordination between his office and the Department of Defense. ..
Marshall also said the British chancellor took hours to respond to emails and “He did not fully understand the situation“.
He also said Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s order to evict a charity’s dogs went against State Department standards and left many people at risk of being killed behind.
What are the charges?
Among the errors pointed out by the former State Department official are the following:
- Only 5% of the 150,000 people who applied for help got it
- No one on the app’s handling team had detailed knowledge of Afghanistan or had ever worked there.
- Nobody spoke any Afghan language, calls to people asking for help were in English.
- Decisions about who to rescue were arbitrary and the thousands of emails from people seeking help were not read.
- The IT system was down. Eight soldiers recruited to help use a computer
- Consultant Dominic Raab was slow to make decisions in difficult cases and did not fully understand the situation.
- The animals of the Nowzad Charity run by a former Marine were not in danger and their evacuation was at the expense of people in danger of dying.
“I think we did a good job.”
Speaking to the BBC, former Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said lessons from the past in Afghanistan would be learned, but claimed the UK had done a good job compared to other countries.
He indicated that London managed to evacuate 15,000 people in two weeks, a number greater than any other country except the United States.
In addition, he noted that criticism of his decision-making came from a “relatively young desk officer”.
The former British chancellor insisted that his main challenges were verifying the identities of applicants on the ground and Listen to them safely To Kabul airport, don’t make decisions from London.
“I don’t doubt that there have been challenges, I don’t doubt that there will be lessons to be learned, but if you look at the facts, I think we have done a good job with recent eviction standards and international comparisons,” he said on the BBC’s breakfast programme.
When the Taliban entered Kabul in August, the British government began a plan to evacuate Afghans who had worked directly with the UK and another to identify and assist those who were at risk because of their ties to the country.
“5000 unread emails”
Marshall worked with a team of officials who dealt with a group known as “Afghan Special Issues” that included Afghan soldiers, politicians, journalists, civil servants, activists, humanitarians, judges, and guards. I worked indirectly for the government from United kingdom Through subcontractors.
In the desperate days at the end of August, when the Taliban were advancing on Kabul, many of these people emailed the State Department for permission to leave the country.
Marshall noted that there were “about 5,000 unread emails in the inbox at any given time” and “in thousands of cases the emails were not read,” including those of MPs.
He highlighted that the process of prioritizing applicants was “Arbitrary and dysfunctional“The criteria used by the government were useless, vague and caused confusion,” he added.
A British government spokesman said more than 1,000 Foreign Office staff had worked tirelessly under difficult conditions and it was necessary to make decisions to set priorities quickly to help as many people as possible.
He also stated that London is still working to help evacuate other people from Afghanistan, and since the operation ended, they have helped more than 3,000 people leave the country.
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