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Secretary Raab faces grilling over UK’s ‘humiliation’ in Afghanistan

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is seen in this file photo during a session in the House of Commons in London, November 26, 2020. (By AFP)

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has been questioned by the members of parliament over his mishandling of the Afghanistan crisis, which has been described as “the biggest failure of foreign policy in a generation.”

Raab appeared before the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday, bearing the pressure from the MPs to explain about the UK’s performance in the war-torn country.

Speaking to Sky News, Labour MP Neil Coyle had said earlier that Britain was “sidelined” during the Afghan withdrawal, adding that the foreign secretary should tell “how we ended up in this absolutely humiliating situation.” In scathing comments, he attacked Raab’s management of the crisis as an “absolute shambles.”

Accusing Raab of multiple failings, the shadow foreign secretary, Lisa Nandy, called on him to clarify why the government had been left scrambling to airlift thousands of people since the Taliban retook power in Afghanistan.

“The foreign secretary had 18 months to prepare but was missing in action. As a result, on his watch Britain has become ‘weaker’ in the world and faces greater risks from terrorism,” Nandy said.

Stewart McDonald, the Scottish National Party’s foreign affairs spokesperson, also criticized Raab over “his own role in the foreign office’s mismanagement of the situation in Afghanistan.” He asked the secretary about his critical holiday amid Afghanistan turmoil, but received no answer.

Faced with fierce criticism, Raab has said that the central assessment of the UK government was that Kabul was “unlikely” to fall in 2021.

“The central assessment that we were operating to, and it was certainly backed up by the JIC [joint intelligence committee] and the military, is that the most likely, the central proposition, was that given the troop withdrawal by the end of August, you’d see a steady deterioration from that point.”

It is worth noting that Raab was also under fire as he was on holiday on the Greek island of Crete while Kabul was being retaken by the Taliban. However, he refused 11 times to reveal the exact dates of his infamous luxury holiday on Wednesday’s hearing.

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