UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will not resign from his post according to multiple sources, despite calls for his departure over allegedly refusing to make calls to save Afghan interpreters during the fall of Kabul to the Taliban.
Raab has rejected calls for his resignation, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson also saying that he “absolutely” has full confidence in Raab.
The Foreign Office said that Dominic Raab was too busy prioritising “security” at Kabul airport to speak to his Afghan counterpart, with a junior minister being asked to do so instead, however, the Foreign Office has now said it “was not possible” to arrange the call.
This was due to the fall of the Afghan government, which saw the government, including Prime Minister Ashraf Ghani, flee the country.
He was facing further criticism, including by Leader of the Opposition, Keir Starmer, whilst at the Afghanistan debate in Parliament on Wednesday. Starmer accused him of not taking his job seriously, with Raab holidaying in Crete when Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, fell to the Taliban.
It has been further reported that several top Foreign Office civil servants, and the prime minister, were also away on holiday during the crisis.
Labour, shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy said:
“For the prime minister and foreign secretary to be on holiday during the biggest foreign policy crisis in a generation is an unforgivable failure of leadership”.
Raab insisted he had been talking to ministers “on an hour-by-hour basis” whist in Crete, and that he returned “as soon as the situation deteriorated and demanded it”, despite not returning until after Kabul was in control of the Taliban.
Following the resignation calls, Raab said:
Since Kabul fell, the UK has evacuated 1,615 people, including 399 British nationals and their dependants, 320 embassy staff, and 402 Afghan nationals who worked for the UK government in Afghanistan.
The government has also announced that 20,000 Afghan refugees will be settled in the UK over the next five years, despite calls to take more people. The UK’s Home Secretary, Priti Patel, has stated that the government will focus on women and girls, or presecuted minorities.