Afghanistan: Leaked report counters Raab testimony amid ‘an issue’ of intelligence failure

Afghanistan: Taliban appear to interact with seized US guns

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It also suggests that the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, chose to go on holiday, despite receiving warnings Kabul was in imminent danger of falling. The Principle Risk Register report, an internal FCDO document, was leaked to Tom Tugendhat, the Conservative chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and seen by Sky News. The report warned the US troop withdrawal could lead to the “the fall of cities”, the “collapse of security forces” and advised that the British embassy “may need to close if security deteriorates”.

The document was published more than three weeks before the UK Government launched Operation Pitting in the middle of August, to evacuate British nationals from Afghanistan.

Mr Tugendhat told Sky News: “The Foreign Office’s own principle risk report highlighted in July, on 22 July, the risk of complete failure in Afghanistan – and now we are seeing, even now, people who didn’t make it out in time.

“So there is a lesson to be learned there.”

The Foreign Office said it was “simply wrong and misleading to suggest this document is in any way at odds with our detailed assessments of the situation in Afghanistan or our public position throughout the crisis.”

A spokesperson added: “The July document makes clear that our central planning assumption at the time was that the peace process in Afghanistan would run for up to a further six months.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Mr Raab told the committee of MPs that intelligence assessments had predicted the capital city Kabul was “unlikely” to fall this year.

Mr Tugendhat said there appeared to be “an issue” with intelligence.

“Well it is quite clear that there are two kinds of intelligence failures: there are those failures where the intelligence agency failed to provide the intelligence – and that is the traditional meaning of the word,” he said.

“And there is a second kind of intelligence failure where whoever is the principle didn’t read it.

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“I am afraid you can’t blame the spies if the officers don’t read the report.”

It comes as Downing Street confirmed the Government is in talks with the Taliban to ensure the safe passage of British nationals still stranded in Afghanistan.

A spokesperson said Sir Simon Gass, the special representative for the Afghan transition, had flown to Doha in Qatar to talk with senior members of the militant group.

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