POLITICS
31/08/2021 09:23 BST

Dominic Raab Accuses Critics Of 'Sloping Off' To Newspapers To Brief Against Him

The foreign secretary has been under pressure over his handling of the Afghanistan crisis.

WPA Pool via Getty Images

Dominic Raab has accused his critics for “sloping off” to the newspapers to brief against him.

The foreign secretary has been under pressure over his handling the evacuation of Afghanistan and it has been reported he could lose his job in an upcoming cabinet reshuffle.

Speaking to Times Radio on Tuesday morning, Raab said the Foreign Office had been “gripping” the crisis. 

“Anyone that has been sloping off to give off-the-record, anonymous, buck-passing or personalised attacks during a crisis is, I’m afraid, lacking in any credibility whatsoever,” he said.

“There was a team effort across government but no department has done better than the FCDO and I’m very proud of the team that I’ve been leading.”

According to the Sunday Times, Raab did not take regular calls from Afghan and Pakistani ministers during the evacuation from Kabul airport, allegedly because he thought Afghanistan was “yesterday’s war”.

In a separate interview with LBC, Raab said: “I can’t tell you my precise call sheet for the last six months.”

But he added he was part of a “team of ministers” and delegated some phone calls to colleagues including Lord Ahmad.

The foreign secretary added: “It is right that you have delegation, a division of labour if you are going to operate effectively as a team. Anyone who tells you otherwise has not done a job like this.”

It came as he said the number of UK residents left behind in Afghanistan was in the “low hundreds”.

He told Sky News: “We lament the fact that anyone would be left behind.

“I would just say that since April when we have been planning and instituting this over 17,000 British nationals, Afghan workers, vulnerable special cases are out. I know that the number of UK nationals – the particular responsibility of the Foreign Office – is now down at a very low level.”

US forces finally withdrew from Afghanistan on Monday, a day ahead of the deadline set by Joe Biden, bringing to an end a deployment which began in the wake of the September 11 attacks two decades ago.

The end of the Western military presence – the UK had already pulled out its remaining troops – also concluded the airborne evacuation effort from Kabul, leaving Afghans wanting to escape the Taliban facing an uncertain future.