UK lawmakers slam botched Afghan evacuation plan, saying British foreign office had no strategy

UK lawmakers slam botched Afghan evacuation plan, saying British foreign office had no strategy
2 min read
Britain's withdrawal from Afghanistan last summer has been slammed as a 'disaster and betrayal' by the UK foreign affairs committee in a report on Tuesday
The committee said there was a 'fundamental lack of seriousness, grip or leadership at a time of national emergency' [source: Getty]

Britain’s withdrawal from Afghanistan was a “disaster and betrayal” hampered by a lack of leadership from senior politicians and civil servants, the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee said in a report released on Tuesday.

The committee criticised the UK Foreign Office for the “total absence” of a plan for evacuating Afghans who supported the UK mission despite knowing for 18 months that such an evacuation might be necessary.

This was compounded by the fact that there seemed to be no clear lines of leadership among political leaders, with decisions made on the basis of “untraceable and unaccountable political interventions,” the committee said in its report.

In-depth
Live Story

“The fact that the Foreign Office’s senior leaders were on holiday when Kabul fell marks a fundamental lack of seriousness, grip or leadership at a time of national emergency,” the committee said.

The report was based on an eight-month inquiry during which the committee heard testimony from 20 witnesses and reviewed written evidence from 36 organizations.

Britain, alongside the US, decided to withdraw troops from Afghanistan last August. 

The Taliban swiftly seized power following the withdrawal and the country has since been plunged into a devasting economic and social catastrophe. The hardline rulers, while promising to be more liberal compared to their previous stint in power, have cracked down on human rights, including imposing strict dress codes on women in public. 

The New Arab reached out to the UK Foreign Office for comment, but received no response by the time of publication.