Dominic Raab has mentioned he didn’t name Afghanistan’s international minister when he was on vacation as he was prioritising securing Kabul airport in order that evacuation flights might depart.
Amid mounting criticism over the velocity of his response to the Taliban’s takeover, the international secretary mentioned in an announcement on Friday the federal government has been “working tirelessly” to assist folks flee Afghanistan.
“On Friday afternoon, 13 August, recommendation was put to my personal workplace (round 6pm Afghan time) recommending a name to the Afghan international minister. This was rapidly overtaken by occasions,” it reads.
“The decision was delegated to a minister of state as a result of I used to be prioritising safety and capability on the airport on the direct recommendation of the director and the director common overseeing the disaster response.
“In any occasion, the Afghan international minister agreed to take the decision, however was unable to due to the quickly deteriorating state of affairs.
“The federal government’s method to prioritise safety on the airport was the fitting one. Consequently, 204 UK nationals and their households, Afghan employees and different nations residents had been evacuated on the morning of Monday 16 August.”
Posting on social media, the international secretary mentioned his assertion was “responding to the incorrect media reporting over latest days”.
Mr Raab is constant to withstand calls to resign as international secretary after he declined to talk together with his Afghan counterpart whereas on vacation because the Taliban closed in on Kabul.
Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the SNP and Plaid Cymru are mounting strain on Mr Raab to depart his ministerial position and say Prime Minister Boris Johnson ought to sack the international secretary if he doesn’t stand apart himself.
However Downing Road say they’ve “full confidence” in Mr Raab.
And requested by reporters on Thursday morning if he plans to resign over the matter, the international secretary replied: “No.”
Talking to Sky Information on Friday, defence minister James Heappey got here to Mr Raab’s defence and mentioned folks in any respect ranges within the UK authorities are “working their backsides off” to evacuate folks.
However Labour say the international secretary’s place has turn out to be “untenable”.
Earlier this week, shadow international secretary Lisa Nandy instructed Sky Information that “not selecting up the telephone to the Afghan international minister appears to me to be completely shameful on the federal government’s half”.
In an announcement launched later, she added: “If Dominic Raab would not have the decency to resign, the prime minister should present a shred of management and sack him.”
Labour’s deputy chief Angela Rayner added: “Dominic Raab ought to resign. If he will not resign, Boris Johnson ought to sack him.”
In a put up on social media, Liberal Democrat chief Sir Ed Davey mentioned: “Raab should go.”
Reiterating the identical place, SNP Westminster chief Ian Blackford mentioned: “Dominic Raab has didn’t carry out his fundamental duties as international secretary, and he has put folks’s lives in danger. His place is totally untenable and he should resign, or be sacked.”
And Plaid Cymru’s Westminster chief, Liz Saville Roberts mentioned Mr Raab “not commends respect” and “ought to resign or be faraway from put up”.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has additionally defended Mr Raab, telling Kay Burley that “one telephone name shouldn’t be the rationale we’re the place we’re” when it comes to the present state of affairs in Afghanistan.
He added that he had “no downside” in coping with the international secretary whereas he was overseas.
Mr Raab has been accused of failing to ask Hanif Atmar for pressing help in evacuating Afghan interpreters who had labored for UK army personnel through the 20-year battle within the nation.
It was vital the decision was made by Mr Raab, quite than a junior minister, the officers had mentioned.
However they had been instructed Mr Raab was unavailable and that Lord Goldsmith, the International Workplace minister on responsibility, might converse to Mr Atmar as a substitute.
On Wednesday, a International Workplace spokesperson mentioned: “The international secretary was engaged on a variety of different calls and this one was delegated to a different minister.”
Stories later transpired that the telephone name was not made by the junior international workplace minister both.
Mr Raab reportedly didn’t converse together with his Afghan counterpart till no less than the subsequent day, after the Afghan international ministry refused to arrange a name with the extra junior UK minister.
This meant essential time was misplaced earlier than the Taliban took management of Kabul on Sunday, prompting a determined scramble to evacuate 1000’s of Britons and the interpreters that’s nonetheless ongoing.
Shadow residence secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds accused Mr Raab of a “dereliction of responsibility”.
In the meantime, a No 10 spokesperson confirmed the prime minister will chair a COBR assembly on Friday afternoon to debate the present state of affairs in Afghanistan.