UK's Johnson Dismisses as 'Nonsense' Claims He Prioritised Animals in Kabul Evacuation
14:36 GMT 07.12.2021 (Updated: 21:39 GMT 18.10.2022)
© REUTERS / Ben Shread/UK MOD Crown copyright 2021/HandoutMembers of the UK Armed Forces continue to take part in the evacuation of entitled personnel from Kabul airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan August 19-22, 2021, in this handout picture obtained by Reuters on August 23, 2021. LPhot Ben Shread/UK MOD Crown copyright 2021/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.
LONDON (Sputnik) – UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday dismissed as “complete nonsense” claims that he had ordered to prioritise animals over humans during the evacuation of British personnel and Afghan collaborators following the Taliban (under UN sanctions for terrorism) takeover of Kabul in August.
“No, that's complete nonsense,” Johnson told broadcasters when asked about allegations from a former Foreign Office official turned whistleblower that the prime minister had instructed staff in Kabul to “use considerable capacity” to evacuate dogs and cats from an animal shelter run by a former Royal Marine commando.
In a 40-page written statement to the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Select Committee, Raphael Marshall also claimed that the “chaotic” and “dysfunctional” evacuation, code-named Operation Pitting by the government, led to people being left to die at the hands of the Taliban, as only 5% of the thousands of applicants were rescued.
He also accused the then-foreign minister Dominic Raab of showing a misunderstanding of the haphazard process and desperate position at Kabul airport by delaying several emergency evacuation referrals.
In response to Marshall’s criticism, Johnson admitted that “sometimes decisions took hours longer than we want to,” but claimed that Operation Pitting, which saw 15,000 people airlifted from Kabul over the summer, “was one of the outstanding military achievements of the last 50 years or more.”