MPs slam Raab and urge foreign ministry chief to quit over ‘deep failures’ in Kabul

A scathing report from the House of Commons’ Foreign Affairs Committee urges Sir Philip Barton to reconsider his position over his “fundamental lack of seriousness, grasp or leadership” during the Afghanistan fallout

The most senior official in the Foreign Office, Secretary of State Sir Philip Barton

British troops and Afghan allies were “completely let down by profound leadership failures” during Britain’s disastrous evacuation of Kabul, MPs said, as they called for the resignation of the foreign ministry’s top official.

A scathing report by the Commons’ Foreign Affairs Committee, released today, called on Sir Philip Barton to reconsider his position on a “determination to avoid exposure of the facts” as MPs probed how the government was dealing with the fallout from the takeover bypassed the Taliban.

The report criticized then-Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and Sir Philip’s “fundamental lack of seriousness, grasp or leadership” in failing to return from furlough when the Afghan capital fell in August.

Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) executives have been told to be “ashamed” that officials had to risk their careers by exposing the “horrific mismanagement of the crisis” when the Taliban came to power.

MPs also said they are yet to hear a “plausible alternative explanation” for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who approved the controversial evacuation for the Nowzad animal tragedy.

The committee said the withdrawal was a “disaster” and a “betrayal” of British allies that will harm Britain’s interests for years to come.

Ministers have been accused of having “absolutely no plan” for Afghans supporting the British mission, despite knowing for 18 months that the evacuations may be necessary if US troops withdraw.

The hasty effort to select individuals for the airlift was “poorly planned, managed and understaffed,” with a lack of clarity “causing confusion and false hope among our Afghan partners desperate for rescue.”

“They and the many officials and soldiers who worked hard to evacuate were utterly disappointed by the deep leadership failure in the government,” the committee said.

Dominic Raab said today’s decision was evidence the Parole Board needed a “major overhaul”.



The FCDO has been accused of providing “deliberately evasive and often deliberately misleading” answers to the committee’s inquiries.

Sir Philip “showed a worrying lack of knowledge of the department he heads” and a determination to avoid exposure of the facts, MPs said.

Mr Raab was promoted to Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary after the crisis, but the committee chose permanent secretary Sir Philip for failing to record the ministry’s decisions.

“This would be a serious failure at any time, but there could have been loss of life during the withdrawal from Afghanistan,” MEPs concluded.

“The committee has lost confidence in the permanent secretary of state, who should reconsider his position.”

Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the committee, said: “The UK’s involvement in this tragedy shows a lack of seriousness in achieving coordination, a lack of clear decision-making, a lack of leadership and a lack of accountability.

“While lower-level officials have shown courage and integrity, chaotic and arbitrary decision-making has permeated this investigation.

“Unfortunately, it cost many people the chance to leave Afghanistan and put lives at risk.”

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