tirsdag 7. desember 2021

Whistleblower condemns Foreign Office over Kabul evacuation

Tens of thousands of Afghans were unable to access UK help following the fall of Kabul because of turmoil and confusion in the Foreign Office, according a devastating account by a whistleblower. A former diplomat has claimed bureaucratic chaos, ministerial intervention, lack of planning and a short-hours culture in the department led to “people being left to die at the hands of the Taliban”.

The evidence of Raphael Marshall was deemed so serious that an internal inquiry was launched when he presented his account to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) permanent secretary, Sir Phillip Barton, at the end of August. It is likely the whistleblower’s evidence and the launch of the still unpublished internal inquiry contributed to the decision to move the then foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, to a new cabinet role.

Marshall, an Oxford graduate with three years in the diplomatic service, had volunteered to work on the FCDO’s special cases team at the height of the crisis in August following the sudden fall of Kabul to the Taliban. He has now quit the department and, in testimony to the foreign affairs select committee published on Tuesday, he reveals the extent of the chaos he witnessed. At one point at the height of the crisis, he says he was the only person working on the evacuation desk, and was having to make life and death decisions on individuals to be evacuated on the basis of entirely haphazard criteria.