A former desk officer at the Foreign Office has accused the government of having an utterly ‘chaotic system’ amid the Afghanistan evacuations, and even prioritising the lives of animals above humans.
The Hamid Karzai International Airport subsequently became a focal point for sheer panic, as thousands of Afghans and military personnel tried to flee the city.
Raphael Marshall has since exposed the alleged ‘appalling’ way that the UK government dealt with fleeing Afghans and how mismanaged the evacuation effort was.
According to Marshall, thousands of emails containing evacuation requests were falsely claimed by the government as having been logged, when many actually went completely unread, The Guardian reports.
MPs also sent many emails, which led to Tom Tugendhat, the chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, complaining about 10 different cases to the private office of Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.
Despite Tugendhat being sent a response that informed him that his emails were being ‘process[ed]’, Marshall alleged that ‘none of these cases had so far been processed at all’.
Marshall claimed that fewer than 5% of the 150,000 people who applied for evacuation ever received assistance.
‘It is clear that some of those left behind have since been murdered by the Taliban,’ he commented.
Marshall even accused the government of actually reading the emails but not making any moves to act on them.
Moreover, Marshall deemed the guide for who should be evacuated ‘unhelpful’ because Raab prioritised professions, such as judges, but didn’t tell those answering the emails about such criteria.
Marshall claimed that evacuation didn’t prioritise figures such as British Embassy guards, and that people were ‘misallocated’ locations that they were meant to evacuate from.
He also noted that summaries of evacuees’ requirements were ‘inconsistent and likely often misleading’, which jeopardised the safety of those evacuating.
The list of people to prioritise was later narrowed, however Marshall insisted there was ‘no effective review of these decisions’.
The former desk officer alleged that the country had not been studied by the special cases team – or even visited by some before. He even claimed that the ‘leader’ of the team referred to people of Afghanistan as ‘Afghanis’ rather than the ‘correct term’ which is ‘Afghans’.
Moreover, Afghans who were ready to evacuate were misled into thinking they needed a printed version of their email rather than simply a digital copy, because of calls only being made ‘in English’ and information given to Afghans surrounding their evacuation being translated inaccurately.
Laptops were given to soldiers without passwords, making them inaccessible, which Marshall claimed could have ‘directly result[ed] in the deaths of people unnecessarily left behind’.
Marshall also accused the FCDO of having ‘undermined organisational effectiveness’ by only requiring staff to work normal hours.
A list of ‘very high priority cases’ for evacuation was ‘lost somewhere’ and a extortionately long list was sent to the Home Office, which took six hours to clear.
Furthermore, IT systems weren’t integrated, leaving civil servants ‘appalled by our chaotic system’, Marshall noted.
Marshall also claimed that Paul ‘Pen’ Farthing’s animals were prioritised by Boris Johnson over humans, and that they ‘transported animals which were not at risk of harm at the direct expense of evacuating British nationals and people at risk of imminent murder, including interpreters who had served with the British Army’.
If you’d like to help those who’ve been affected by the recent devastating events unfolding in Afghanistan, you can make a donation to the UN Refugee Agency United Kingdom here