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Thursday, 08 December 2022
UK foreign secretary accused of putting Afghan interpreters' lives at risk
Dominic Raab

According to the BBC, UK Labour has accused the foreign secretary of putting interpreters' lives at risk after he reportedly declined to make a phone call to get help evacuating them from Afghanistan. Afghan 

The BBC reported the Daily Mail claims Dominic Raab was advised to personally ask his Afghan counterpart for urgent support.

But the BBC has been told the call was made by a junior minister.

According to the BBC, a government spokesperson said Mr Raab was engaged on other calls and this one was delegated to another minister.

The BBC added that earlier this week, newspaper reports suggested the foreign secretary was seen relaxing on a beach on the Greek island of Crete on Sunday - the day Taliban militants entered Kabul, Afghanistan's capital.

Mr Raab said that while he was away he had been directing his team and engaging with international partners.

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The BBC said that the Mail has now reported that Mr Raab was advised by senior Foreign Office officials on Friday 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.

The Mail claims the officials said it was important the call was made by him rather than a junior minister - but they were told Mr Raab was unavailable.

Read more: Afghan interpreter who worked for British army begs Boris Johnson for help

Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas Symonds tweeted: "This is a dereliction of duty. Failing to make a call has put the lives of brave interpreters at risk, after they served so bravely with our military. Utterly shameful."

According to the BBC, MPs on all sides criticised the government's response to events in Afghanistan in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

During the debate, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer accused Mr Raab of staying "on holiday while our mission in Afghanistan was disintegrating".

Sir Keir said: "You cannot co-ordinate an international response from the beach."

It should be noted that on Wednesday night, Mr Raab said he had spoken to the US secretary of state Anthony Blinken to discuss both countries' response to the situation in Afghanistan.

Source: BBC