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UK's Kabul airlift troops 'let down by deep failures of leadership', MPs say

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UK's Kabul airlift troops 'let down by deep failures of leadership', MPs say​

Committee of MPs has demanded the resignation of the Foreign Office's top civil servant in a scathing report.

Afghan allies and British soldiers were "utterly let down by deep failures of leadership" in Government during the evacuation from Kabul, MPs have said, as they demanded the resignation of the Foreign Office's top civil servant.

A scathing report published on Tuesday called for Sir Philip Barton to consider his position over a "determination to avoid unearthing the facts" during an inquiry by the cross-party Foreign Affairs Committee.

Then-foreign secretary Dominic Raab and Sir Philip's failures to return from holiday as Kabul fell in August last year marked a "fundamental lack of seriousness, grip or leadership", the MPs said.

Leaders at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) were told to be "ashamed" that civil servants had to risk their careers by blowing the whistle to unearth the "appalling mismanagement of the crisis" as the Taliban swept to power.

The MPs also said they are yet to hear a "plausible alternative explanation" to Prime Minister Boris Johnson approving the controversial evacuation for the Nowzad animal tragedy.

The committee said the withdrawal was a "disaster" and a "betrayal" of British allies that will damage the UK's interest for years to come.

Ministers were accused of having a "total absence of a plan" for Afghans who supported the British mission, despite knowing for 18 months that the evacuations may be necessary if the US withdrew its troops.

The hasty efforts to select individuals for airlift was "poorly devised, managed and staffed", with a lack of clarity causing "confusion and false hope among our Afghan partners who were desperate for rescue".

"They, and the many civil servants and soldiers working hard on the evacuation, were utterly let down by deep failures of leadership in Government," the committee said.


 
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