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'Raab Must Stand Down Now' Over Failing to Deal With Afghan Crisis, Ex-UK General Says

© REUTERS / Jeff Gilbert/PoolBritain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab looks on during a visit of Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) Crisis Centre in London, Britain August 27, 2021
Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab looks on during a visit of Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) Crisis Centre in London, Britain August 27, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 30.08.2021
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Last week, Dominic Raab rejected claims that he was "paddle-boarding" on holiday as the Taliban* advanced on the Afghan capital Kabul.
Former British Army generals have called on Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to resign over the accusations he hampered the UK's evacuation efforts in Afghanistan.
Late last week, UK media outlets reported that Raab's alleged reluctance to return earlier from his holiday in Crete kept at least 1,000 Afghans, including translators, from being evacuated to Britain.
Retired Major General Charlie Herbert, a former senior NATO adviser to the Afghan Ministry of Interior, said on Sunday that "the lack of information being provided to those eligible personnel abandoned in Afghanistan is utterly disgraceful".
© REUTERS / HANNAH MCKAYBritain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab walks outside Downing Street, in London, Britain, August 16, 2021
Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab walks outside Downing Street, in London, Britain, August 16, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.09.2021
Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab walks outside Downing Street, in London, Britain, August 16, 2021
Herbert insisted that "if Dominic Raab is not up to the task in hand he must stand down now and let someone else deal with this [Afghan] crisis".
"If any abandoned interpreter or local staff member is killed at the hands of the Taliban, their blood will be on the hands of the prime minister and his foreign, defence, and home secretaries", the ex-general argued.
He accused Defence Secretary Ben Wallace of "utterly" betraying "those of us who served alongside our interpreters, and our hearts are broken".
The same tone was struck by Richard Dannatt, the head of the UK Army from 2006 to 2009, who told Times Radio about "the particular issue of those who we knew were in danger, people who had worked for us, interpreters, former locally-engaged civilians".
© REUTERS / HANDOUTBritish Armed Forces take part in Kabul airport evacuation
British Armed Forces take part in Kabul airport evacuation - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.09.2021
British Armed Forces take part in Kabul airport evacuation
Dannatt said it was "unfathomable why it would appear that the government was asleep on watch" after warnings that thousands of Afghan interpreters and other staff who cooperated with the UK military should get refuge following the western troop exit from Afghanistan.
Lisa Nandy, Labour's shadow foreign secretary, for per part, vowed that "when the foreign secretary sits down in front of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee this week, he has serious questions to answer".
Echoing her was Julie Smith, Liberal Democrat defence spokeswoman in the House of Lords, who said that "Dominic Raab should consider his position".
"Even since his delayed return from Crete I don't think Mr Raab has been fully engaged", she argued.

Raab Rejects 'Paddle-Boarding' Allegations

The remarks came a few days after the foreign secretary denied allegations he was "paddle-boarding" at sea during his holiday amid the Taliban's offensive on the Afghan capital Kabul.
"The stuff about me paddle-boarding, nonsense, the sea was actually closed, it was a red notice. I was focused on the Cobra [Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms] meetings, the Foreign Office team, the director and the director general, and the international engagement", Raab asserted.
This followed Prime Minister Boris Johnson telling reporters he "absolutely" has confidence in the foreign secretary and insisting the government works "virtually around the clock" to help evacuate people from Afghanistan.
BoJo stressed he was "not going to pretend" that the evacuation effort was "easy", adding, "as you can imagine, the logistical challenges are formidable".
Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.08.2021
BoJo Urged to Show 'Shred of Leadership', Sack Raab Over ‘Shameful’ Afghanistan Response Delays
Raab is currently under pressure to step down as he faces accusations that he, when vacationing in Crete, delegated a crucial call to his Afghan counterpart to discuss the evacuation of Afghan interpreters amid the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan.
The foreign secretary explained last week that a 13 August "recommendation" to communicate with then-Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar was "quickly overtaken by events".
"The call was delegated to a minister of state because I was prioritising security and capacity at the airport on the direct advice of the director and the director general overseeing the crisis response", Raab said.
On 15 June, the Taliban entered Kabul without firing a shot, calling for a peaceful transfer of power and declaring "the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan", something that prodded scores of Afghans to flood the Kabul Airport in a bid to leave the country.
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