PM JOHNSON is facing growing pressure to sack his Foreign Secretary Raab, or if he won’t to resign himself.
It has now emerged that neither Raab or any of his aides made any attempt to contact the Afghan government during the current crisis.
The government had said Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was too busy to speak to his Afghan counterpart, and that a junior minister had been asked to do so instead.
The Foreign Office now says it ‘was not possible’ to arrange the call before the Afghan government collapsed.
It was revealed earlier this week that the foreign secretary was unavailable to make the phone call last Friday – while he was on holiday in Crete – as the Taliban advanced towards Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital.
Labour asked whether Prime Minister Johnson had spoken to Raab while he was away – and whether he had given permission for him to leave the UK.
Meanwhile, the Times reports that the top civil servants at the Home Office, Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence are all currently on holiday.
The have all deserted the several thousands of Afghan interpreters and other staff who worked for UK forces since the NATO invasion of Afghanistan almost 20 years ago.
The United Nations alleged yesterday that those deemed to have been ‘collaborators’ of the US and the UK are being sought out in door-to-door searches.
Afghans who worked for the UK government can come to the UK as part of the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy.
The Home Office says it has resettled 2,000 former staff and their families in the UK since 22 June. The target is 5,000 by the end of this year.
On Thursday, it was reported that Raab had been advised by senior Foreign Office officials last week that he should make contact with Afghan Foreign Minister Hanif Atmar to request urgent assistance in rescuing interpreters.
Officials said it was important the call was made by Raab rather than a junior minister, but they were told he was unavailable.
A Foreign Office spokesman has now told the BBC: ‘Given the rapidly changing situation, it was not possible to arrange a call before the Afghan government collapsed.’
For Labour, shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy said: ‘For the prime minister and foreign secretary to be on holiday during the biggest foreign policy crisis in a generation is an unforgivable failure of leadership.’
All Trades Unions Alliance Secretary Dave Wiltshire said yesterday: ‘If Johnson stands by Raab then the trade unions must be ready to bring down the Tory government with a general strike.’
‘This is the only way forward for workers in the UK.’