Afghan Minister for Afghanistan was on vacation when Kabul fell, Sky News says

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Afghan Minister for Afghanistan was on vacation when Kabul fell, Sky News says


The Afghanistan minister was also on vacation last week when Kabul fell, Sky News has learned.

Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Minister of State directly responsible for South Asia, was on leave until Sunday, the day the Taliban entered the afghan Capital.

The conservative peer has been in his post for four years. He has been in regular contact with Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammed Haneef Atmar over the past year as peace talks were underway in Doha between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

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Lord Ahmad (right) has been in regular contact with Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammed Haneef Atmar since taking office in 2017

Foreign Minister Dominic Raab faced calls for resignation for failing to call Mr Atmar on Friday, while on vacation in Crete, which critics say could have been used to seek help from Afghan interpreters.

But it is understood that, while Lord Ahmad was on vacation in the UK and in contact with officials as the Afghan crisis rapidly escalated, he was not asked to call Mr Atmar on Friday and was not asked to call Mr Atmar on Friday. was not informed.

He was delegated to Lord Goldsmith – who covers the Pacific and shares his time with the Department of the Environment.

The Foreign Ministry confirmed that the appeal never took place, which drew strong criticism.

A spokesperson for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said: “Lord Ahmad has worked closely with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the FCDO team throughout the response to events in Afghanistan, including in engaging with international partners.

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There have been calls for the resignation of Foreign Minister Dominic Raab

Lord Ahmad has returned to his office since Monday to work on the evacuation, a source said.

He would have spent part of his vacation working on the cases raised by parliamentarians of those trapped in Afghanistan.

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‘Completely horrible’: people ‘crushed’ at Kabul airport

Speaking at the House of Lords debate on Wednesday – which ran concurrently with the House of Commons debate – he said he was doing all he could to bring back the British nationals.

A government source told Sky News that contingency plans for the evacuation – known as Operation Pitting – had been in preparation for months and that Afghanistan had been “on the brink for months, no one knew if it would happen now or in a few months ”. time “.

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Cabinet colleagues defended Raab saying the Afghan government “is melting faster than ice” and an appeal would have made little difference.

The Conservatives have privately criticized the Foreign Office’s response, with one minister calling it “a shambles.” But some members of the government say that the foreign minister is “hardworking” and has been “a lightning rod for the anger of the deputies against the Americans”.

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