A leaked Overseas Workplace report warned authorities ministers on 22 July that the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan would result in ‘fast Taliban advances’, a senior Conservative MP has claimed.
Chairman of the Overseas Affairs Committee, Tom Tugendhat, instructed Sky Information that the division’s personal precept threat report on Afghanistan advised the nation’s cities had been at risk of being taken over greater than three weeks earlier than the UK authorities launched Operation Pitting in the course of August.
Studying the alleged doc to MPs throughout an nearly two-hour questioning on the UK’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, Mr Tugendhat stated the report harassed the transfer may result in “the autumn of cities”, the “collapse of safety forces” and that the embassy might have to shut.
It got here as Overseas Secretary Dominic Raab instructed MPs that the “central evaluation” of ministers had been that Kabul was “unlikely” to fall this 12 months.
Mr Raab stated: “The central evaluation that we had been working to – and it was definitely backed up by the JIC (Joint Intelligence Committee) and the navy – is that the almost definitely, the central proposition, was that given the troop withdrawal by the tip of August, you’d see a gentle deterioration from that time, and it was unlikely Kabul would fall this 12 months.”
He famous that this line of pondering remained “till late”, however harassed that work to develop an evacuation plan was ongoing from June.
However Mr Tugendhat, who chaired the gruelling interrogation of Mr Raab over the scenario in Afghanistan and served within the area himself, claimed the leaked doc harassed the risky nature of the nation a lot sooner and stated there’s “a difficulty with intelligence”.
“The Overseas Workplace’s personal precept threat report highlighted in July, on 22 July, the danger of full failure in Afghanistan – and now we’re seeing, even now, individuals who did not make it out in time,” Mr Tugendhat instructed Sky Information.
“So there’s a lesson to be realized there.”
He added: “I’ve spoken to lots of people in the previous few weeks who’re very eager that I ought to perceive precisely what has been occurring contained in the Overseas Workplace, inside different components of presidency.
“And I’ve been extraordinarily cautious by which bits of knowledge I take advantage of and which bits I do not as a way to defend completely the safety of our nation and people areas the place we do should be cautious.
“However I believe in a warning like this, which clearly has now been well-overtaken by occasions, revealing that it was made on 22 July is a matter of public curiosity.”
Requested if the leaked report was supplied by a whistleblower, Mr Tugendhat continued: “It’s a report given to me by someone who was able to know.
“Properly it’s fairly clear that there are two sorts of intelligence failures: there are these failures the place the intelligence company failed to supply the intelligence – and that’s the conventional which means of the phrase.
“And there’s a second type of intelligence failure the place whoever is the precept did not learn it.
“I’m afraid you may’t blame the spies if the officers do not learn the report.”
Mr Tugendhat referenced the report, which isn’t publicly obtainable, throughout Mr Raab’s committee listening to, highlighting that there was a threat Afghanistan may collapse.
The committee chairman learn out an extract of the doc which said clearly that the US withdrawal from Afghanistan would lead to fast Taliban advances which may result in the autumn of cities and the collapse of safety forces.
Mr Raab requested for the supply of the data earlier than flicking by his folder and responding with particulars concerning the central evaluation – the intelligence image the Overseas Workplace was working from when it made selections about Afghanistan.
This, he stated, said that it was unlikely Kabul would fall earlier than the tip of the 12 months.
This evaluation, which was backed by the impartial Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) and navy chiefs, remained the driving drive behind authorities coverage till “late”, regardless of different sources which said extra motion may should be taken.
However Mr Tugendhat advised the JIC evaluation seems to be at odds with the division’s personal threat report.
The overseas secretary has confronted criticism after it emerged he was on holiday in Crete whereas the Taliban was advancing on Kabul.
The leaked doc suggests Mr Raab travelled overseas on vacation after his personal division suggested Kabul was at imminent threat of falling.
It additionally poses extra questions as to why extra was not carried out sooner to extract British nationals from Afghanistan.
In the course of the committee listening to, Labour MP Chris Bryant requested Mr Raab if he was already on vacation on 11 August – when the US assessed the Taliban was more likely to seize the entire of Afghanistan.
He additionally famous that Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Mr Raab and the highest civil servant on the Overseas Workplace had been all on vacation on the similar time.
The overseas secretary repeatedly refused to reply questions on his journey and stated he wouldn’t take part in a “fishing train”.
In the meantime, Conservative Bob Seely pressed Mr Raab on why the UK’s intelligence was “clearly incorrect” about how rapidly the Taliban would take over Afghanistan.
The overseas secretary replied that there was some “optimism” from the US however admits that “clearly” the evaluation they might not advance on the velocity they did was “not right”.