Afghans who helped UK have been abandoned by UK Government, says former Army head

Afghanistan: Biden decision 'will impact for years' says Farage

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Government departments are rowing over who was to blame for leaving behind vulnerable people. But General Lord Richard Dannatt questioned why ministers had not intervened earlier as the issue had been raised repeatedly by senior army officers. He told Times Radio: “On the issue of those who we knew were in danger, people who had worked for us, interpreters, former locally engaged civilians, this issue has been in the media.

“This issue has been on politicians’ desks for two to three years and, certainly, it’s been there during the course of this year.

“Back in July, 45 senior officers wrote to the Government saying there are people we are concerned about and if we don’t do the right thing, their blood will be on our hands. It is unfathomable why it would appear that the Government was asleep on watch.”

Afghans employed by the British army or who worked with UK-based organisations believe they and their families could be tortured and murdered for working with western powers – despite assurances from Taliban leaders.

The Ministry of Defence said that Operation Pitting, the British rescue mission in Afghanistan, had saved 15,000 people, including 5,000 Britons and their families, plus more than 8,000 Afghan former UK staff and their families.

However, some from the aid sector believe up to 9,000 others with links to the UK government could be left behind.

Those remaining will be expected to reach a third country such as Pakistan, Uzbekistan or Tajikistan in order to be resettled in Britain.

Pakistan government sources told the Sunday Times that the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab had shown no interest in talking to them or Afghan ministers in the six months before the crisis.

But Foreign Office sources said Mr Raab had spoken twice to Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi – on August 22 and again on Friday.

Lord Dannatt said ministers had not prioritised helping Afghan allies and demanded an inquiry.

He said: “I think the issue of Afghanistan sat on the backburner. Maybe it started to come forward.

“But then, suddenly, when the Taliban took over the country, it fell off the cooker straight on to the kitchen floor and we’ve had this chaotic extraction.”

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