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We’re NOT going to evacuate everyone from Afghanistan: Government admits rescue operation could last just ‘a few more days’ as planes take off EMPTY – and Afghan who worked for US is shot in the head in more chaos at airport 

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We're NOT going to evacuate everyone from Afghanistan: Government admits rescue operation could last just 'a few more days' as planes take off EMPTY - and Afghan who worked for US is shot in the head in more chaos at airport 
We’re NOT going to evacuate everyone from Afghanistan: Government admits rescue operation could last just ‘a few more days’ as planes take off EMPTY – and Afghan who worked for US is shot in the head in more chaos at airport

 

  • UK evacuated 963 people from Kabul yesterday and is planning for 1,000 more to leave the country today
  • But armed forces minister has been forced to admit that people will get left behind when air bridge closes 
  • James Heappey said the airport is likely to remain open for just a few more days before troops are pulled out 
  • It was revealed that planes are still taking off from the airstrip near-empty as the wife of a British ex-Marine boarded a Norwegian plane last night on which she was virtually the only passenger
  • Meanwhile Taliban guards at the airport are becoming increasingly violent to huge crowds of people waiting to leave, with one man holding US visas shot in the head yesterday
  • Islamists also said to be going through the crowd looking for western collaborators, while elsewhere in the country NATO and US allies have been shot and tortured to death 

West’s empty promises: How many people have we actually evacuated?

America

The promise: At least 22,000 evacuees including US citizens and those holding visas

Aid groups had said 80,000 visas may need to be issued to keep Biden’s pledge to help all those who aided US forces in the country, but that promise has almost certainly been broken

The reality: Just 7,000 people have been airlifted out of Kabul in the last five days, the Pentagon said Thursday, despite there being capacity for up to 9,000 per day

Since the end of July, some 12,000 people have been airlifted out, including Embassy staff, citizens of NATO countries, at-risk Afghan nationals as well as Afghans with special visas

Who’s left? That means to keep even its most-modest promises, the US has at least 10,000 more people to evacuate before the air bridge closes

Britain

The promise: The UK said it wants to evacuate 7,000 UK citizens and Afghan staff from the country

Prime Minister Boris Johnson then promised to take another 5,000 refugees this year as part of a scheme that will allow 20,000 to settle over five years

The reality: Britain evacuated 2,163 people from Kabul between Sunday night and Friday morning, and is aiming to take out another 1,000 per day as long as flights can keep operating

In total, the UK has now taken some 3,800 people out of Afghanistan in recent weeks, including more than 600 UK citizens and thousands of Afghans covered by the resettlement scheme

Who’s left? To keep its most-modest promises, the UK must evacuate some 3,200 people – but up to 8,200 if the prime minister’s pledge to take refugees is to be met

The UK will not be able to evacuate everyone it has promised sanctuary to from Afghanistan and the air bridge to Kabul airport may remain open for just a few more days, the armed forces minister has admitted today.

Britain has promised to evacuate some 7,000 UK citizens and Afghan staff from the country, in addition to 5,000 refugees, but James Heappey said today that ‘that sad truth is, we don’t have it in our gift to stay there until absolutely everyone is out’.

‘The air bridge could last two more days, five more days, ten more days,’ he added, insisting that the armed forces are ‘working hard to maximise capacity’ on every flight while revealing 963 people were taken out of Kabul on British flights yesterday with 1,000 expected to be flown out today.

British special forces are now being sent outside the walls of the airport compound in order to find passport and visa holders and get them past Taliban checkpoints so they can be put on planes home.

But interpreters and Afghan women who served with the special forces say not enough is being done to help as time runs out for them to escape.

Tokhi, 34, a former British interpreter, told The Times that he has been to the airport three times since UK forces emailed him early this week to say he had a seat on a flight out – but has so-far failed to get past even the first of two Taliban checkpoints blocking the entrance he needs to reach.

Meanwhile Shafiqa, who trained with British special forces near Kabul, said she and two female colleagues have filled out forms requesting space on UK flights but have yet to be called to the airport even as the Taliban tries to hunt them down.

The 26-year-old said she has fled her home due to rumours that Islamist fighters have accessed lists of British collaborators and are now using them as hit-lists. She is now moving between houses in the city in the hopes she can dodge the jihadists long enough for space on an evacuation flight to free up.

The US has evacuated some 7,000 people since Sunday, a Pentagon spokesman said yesterday, bringing the total since July to 12,000 with a target of at least 22,000 – though aid groups had said 80,000 would need to be flown out to keep Biden’s promise to provide sanctuary to all those who helped US forces.

NATO said a total of 18,000 people have been flown out of the country since Sunday which includes staff of smaller missions – far short of promises by western countries to take more than 100,000 Afghan refugees between them and even as some 50,000 wait for salvation outside the airport gates.

One image laid bare the extent of the empty promises – showing what is thought to be a Norwegian mercy flight taking off from Kabul carrying the wife of a British ex-Marine who is still stranded in Afghanistan, but almost nobody else.

Posting the image on Twitter last night, Paul ‘Pen’ Farthing wrote: ‘Kaisa is on her way home! BUT this aircraft is empty… scandalous as thousands wait outside Kabul airport being crushed as they cannot get in. Sadly people will be left behind when this mission is over as we CANNOT get it right.’

The UK government is thought to be drawing up contingency plans for a hasty 24-hour exit from the country, a medium-term withdrawal over a period of several days, and a more-orderly withdrawal over a longer period.

Whitehall sources told The Times that the longer-term option is preferred as being safer for British troops, but were forced to admit ‘we are in the American’s hands’ – with little indication coming from Washington as to how long they are willing to hold out.

Mr Farthing is one of dozens of westerners and visa holders who say they cannot get to the airport due to the huge crowds gathered around it, who are being brutalised by Taliban guards on a daily basis after the Islamists took over security.

Asila Wardak, human rights commissioner at The Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said a male relative who was carrying travel documents got shot in the head outside the airport whilst begging the US to provide safe passage for all those it has promised sanctuary to so they can leave the country.

Meanwhile the Taliban has begun hunting through crowds at the airport and going door-to-door elsewhere in the country, looking for those who collaborated with US or NATO forces – torturing and executing those they find.

General Haji Mullah Achakzai, police chief of Badghis Province near Herat, was gunned down in cold blood by Taliban fighters in disturbing footage posted online – while the relative of a German journalist was also shot to death by Islamist gunmen who were unable to find the reporter himself.

Nine ethnic Hazara men were also killed, Amnesty said, with six shot and three tortured to death – with one strangled to death using a scarf and one sliced to pieces with muscles stripped from his body.

In other developments: 

  • Joe Biden said he can’t ‘recall’ if he was warned to maintain a troop presence in Afghanistan;
  • The US President insisted ‘no one is being killed’ during the chaos at the Kabul airport;
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov confirmed an armed resistance to the Taliban, which includes SAS-trained forces, in Afghanistan is forming in the Panjshir Valley;
  • Afghanistan’s biggest female pop star has escaped on a US flight out of Kabul as fears grow for women in the country after the Taliban’s vow to impose Sharia; 
  • Taliban militants are intensifying their hunt for people who worked with UK, US and Nato forces in Afghanistan, according to a confidential report to the UN;
  • The British Foreign Office issued a slew of action shots of Dominic Raab hard at work as he faced fury for failing to make a crucial phone call about Afghanistan while he was on holiday;
  • Women have led anti-Taliban protesters in Afghanistan today as they waved national flags in defiance of the Islamists to mark their country’s independence day.

A shocking image shows a near-empty evacuation flight taking the wife of an ex-Royal Marine commando out of Kabul as the Taliban block thousands of Afghans from entering the capital's airport. Paul 'Pen' Farthing said on Twitter: 'Kaisa is on her way home! BUT this aircraft is empty… scandalous as thousands wait outside #Kabul airport being crushed as they cannot get in. Sadly people will be left behind when this mission is over as we CANNOT get it right'

A shocking image shows a near-empty evacuation flight taking the wife of an ex-Royal Marine commando out of Kabul as the Taliban block thousands of Afghans from entering the capital’s airport. Paul ‘Pen’ Farthing said on Twitter: ‘Kaisa is on her way home! BUT this aircraft is empty… scandalous as thousands wait outside #Kabul airport being crushed as they cannot get in. Sadly people will be left behind when this mission is over as we CANNOT get it right’

A baby is handed over to the American army over the perimeter wall of the airport for it to be evacuated, in Kabul

A baby is handed over to the American army over the perimeter wall of the airport for it to be evacuated, in Kabul

LAfghan people gather along a road as they wait to be evacuated from Kabul airport on Friday

Afghan people gather along a road as they wait to be evacuated from Kabul airport on Friday

Afghan people within the airport perimeter wait to board evacuation flights out of the country on Friday morning

Afghan people within the airport perimeter wait to board evacuation flights out of the country

Afghan citizens with US visas sit inside a military evacuation plane as it leaves Kabul on Thursday, amid criticism that planes are not being fully loaded

Afghan citizens with US visas sit inside a military evacuation plane as it leaves Kabul on Thursday, amid criticism that planes are not being fully loaded

A woman holds up her British passport as she waits to be evacuated from Kabul airport after Afghanistan fell to the Taliban

A woman holds up her British passport as she waits to be evacuated from Kabul airport after Afghanistan fell to the Taliban

British passport holders wave their documents at Kabul airport as people say they have been unable to get into the terminal due to thousands-strong crowds crammed up to the gates

British passport holders wave their documents at Kabul airport as people say they have been unable to get into the terminal due to thousands-strong crowds crammed up to the gates

Satellite images have revealed the extent of the crisis at Kabul airport, with cars crammed up against the southern civilian entrance and northern military entrance that can be seen from satellites

Satellite images have revealed the extent of the crisis at Kabul airport, with cars crammed up against the southern civilian entrance and northern military entrance that can be seen from satellites

Taliban stormed TV station and told female journalist to remove makeup as women are banned from the air

An Afghan woman TV presenter has told how she has been forced into hiding after being ordered off air by the Taliban at gunpoint – as female news anchors are banned from the air.

Mehr Mursal Amiri was ordered ‘to go home, remain there and never return’ after militant Islamists burst into Afghanistan’s national TV network RTA’s studios in Kabul. She was also berated for wearing make-up and refusing to wear a hijab.

Fellow RTA anchors Shabnam Daran and Khadija Amin were also barred from entering the offices earlier as fears grow for women in the country after the Taliban’s vow to impose strict Sharia law.

Ms Amiri, 24, who is also in the final year of a law degree, said: ‘Everything has changed and for the worse.

‘Democracy is over and the future is very dark, particularly for women in my country.’

The journalist, presented a two-hour live show on six mornings a week and is a familiar face to Afghans. The station widened its reach in 2008 to Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North America and broadcasts 24 hours a day.

She said the Taliban henchman were armed and angry when they stormed the state-owned TV station’s headquarters and ordered every woman to leave immediately.

‘It was very scary for us and the station has been taken over by the Taliban now with most of the male staff being removed too.

‘When I looked at my TV today, it was like watching a Mosque with bearded men talking about religion and Sharia law, Nothing else. It is as if women do not exist in our world.’

 Fellow RTA news anchor Shabnam Dawran, who does wear a hijab, also said she was ordered to ‘go home’. She later posted a clip warning ‘our lives are under threat’ while showing her office ID card.

Another RTA journalist Khadija Amin said she went to the office but was barred from entering.

‘Later other colleagues were banned too,’ she said.

Taliban fighters have also been seen shooting over the heads of crowds at Kabul airport while striking people with rifles, as those on the ground reported beatings and whippings being dished out seemingly at random. Crowds have also gathered at the entrance to the military wing of the airport, which is guarded by US and British troops who have been firing into the air to disperse the crowds.

Westerners face a race against time to get out of Kabul, with control of the airport resting on the up to 60,000 troops. Joe Biden has said they will stay until all US citizens are evacuated, but there are suspicions among British troops that they could leave abruptly – leaving the 600 British unable to keep operating to evacuate UK nationals and interpreters.

UK defence secretary Ben Wallace told The Times that British nationals and visa holders are being allowed through a Taliban ‘ring of steel’ around the airport, but that he is aware that not everyone is able to get through crowds at the airport or make it to Kabul from elsewhere in the country.

‘There are people emailing or telling us that they can’t make it,’ he admitted. ‘We encourage them to see what they can do to help… It’s very important that the Foreign Office reach out to those people.’

Meanwhile Mr Farthing told MailOnline that British troops had fired warning shots over the heads of a mother who was clutching a small baby at the airport.

He said: ‘There were a number of shots fired overhead and people started rushing around in panic. I don’t know whether it was live rounds but even if it wasn’t the fear factor is the same. It does nothing to resolve the matter and makes an already tense situation much worse.’

While US and UK troops have said that firing warning shots is a last resort, the Taliban are causing pandemonium and were filmed today shooting from the hip just yards away from women and children, and whacking people with the butts of their rifles.

Such is the desperation among crowds at the airport that women have resorted to passing babies over barbed wire to soldiers in a vain attempt to get them out of the country.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab’s job was hanging by a thread last night as it emerged the crucial phone call that was delegated to a junior minister never took place.

Tory MPs yesterday joined a ferocious backlash against Mr Raab over his failure to intervene while on holiday to help airlift translators out of Afghanistan. The Mail revealed yesterday that the Foreign Secretary had been advised by officials to interrupt his luxury trip to Crete on Friday to urgently contact his Afghan counterpart.

Mr Raab, however, failed to make the call and it was ‘delegated’ to the duty Foreign Office minister Lord Goldsmith. It was thought the telephone conversation had then taken place the following day.

But in an explosive development last night it emerged the call had never actually taken place. The Foreign Office admitted that as the Afghan regime collapsed, it had proved impossible to rearrange.

The revelation will intensify the pressure on Mr Raab, who yesterday faced a clamour to consider his position and resign.

Yesterday, he insisted he would not step down as he broke cover to hold a virtual meeting of G7 leaders. The Foreign Office released pictures of the Foreign Secretary at work and on the phone and said he was working to provide humanitarian assistance and support in Afghanistan.

Afghans who risked their lives by working as translators alongside British soldiers accused the Foreign Secretary of a ‘betrayal’ and warned that his failure to get urgent assistance could cost lives.

Angry Conservative MPs accused Mr Raab for being ‘asleep at the wheel’ and of lacking commitment to the job, with one Tory peer saying he should reflect on his future. Opposition parties meanwhile, said Mr Raab was guilty of a ‘dereliction of duty’ and called for him to be sacked.

Afghan translator Rafi Hottak, who was injured while alongside soldiers in Helmand, was among those to tell of his fury last night, saying: ‘It is a betrayal.

‘We can be killed at any time’: Afghan translators tell of their fear as Taliban plot revenge

Heroic Afghan translators last night told how they feared for their lives – as a UN report warned the Taliban are secretly plotting revenge against those who worked with the West.

The interpreters blasted Dominic Raab’s failure to make a critical phone call before the fall of Kabul as a ‘betrayal’. They said the danger they faced was ‘critical’.

The Mail can reveal that at least six translators, who have already been granted sanctuary in the UK but had recently returned to bring their families to join them, are now stranded in Kabul in a red tape nightmare.

Mr Raab rejected advice from his senior officials to call the Afghan foreign minister Haneef Atmar last Friday. He was in Greece on holiday, and within two days Kabul fell to the Taliban.

One former translator, Rafi Hottak, 35, who is now in the UK, said: ‘I’m shocked. How could somebody do something like that in this chaotic situation?

‘The interpreters and their families could be killed at any time. I’m a British citizen. Was he too busy to look after the families of British citizens in Afghanistan? If he was too busy during his holidays to help, shame on him.’

Waheed, who spent three years with UK forces and is waiting with his wife and two children for a flight out of Afghanistan, said: ‘The situation was critical. He would have known that. Was his holiday too important?

‘Each flight has carried around 200 people. It is an emergency. Anything to make things move quicker must be worth trying. Every minute lost could cost a life.’

Abdul, a father of four and veteran of the front lines, who is also waiting to fly to the UK, said: ‘It is hard to explain why a politician would not pick up a telephone if there is the smallest chance it would make a difference. It is disappointing.’

‘The priority should have been British citizens and those Afghans who helped them. They are trapped in chaos now and in the days and hours before the Taliban arrived anything that could have been done should have been done.’

And one angry Tory MP said: ‘Raab was asleep at the wheel. Backbench MPs are absolutely livid about his ‘not my problem guv’ attitude, as if it was not his responsibility. It has really riled up colleagues. The issue is not that he was on holiday, it is that he seemed to be unaware of what was happening.’

Last night, a leaked United Nations report warned the Taliban were now plotting murderous revenge against those Afghans who had worked with the West. The head of the group providing intelligence to the UN warned the Taliban were carrying out a highly-organised door-to-door hunt for people on their wanted list.

Female demonstrators took to the streets of Kabul waving the black, red and green flag which has become a symbol of defiance to the country’s jihadist rulers.

They were joined by thousands across the country who celebrated the 1919 handover of power from the British by rejecting their new overlords. It comes just a day after three were shot dead for flying the flag during protests.

The Taliban responded with beatings and gunfire while tearing down flags, despite their pledge to be a ‘reformed’ and ‘moderate’ version of the brutal outfit which controlled Afghanistan in the 1990s.

Islamists fighters have also been celebrating independence day in their own fashion – by flying their black and white flag and claiming victory over American forces.

The chaos outside the airport appears to be growing by the day and is causing dangerous stampedes in which several people have already been killed this week, including a 14-year-old girl.

Former British Marine, Mr Farthing, told MailOnline: ‘Two expats – one British and one Norwegian – have already been forced to turn back this morning because they can’t get through.

‘And last night a UN convoy carrying various foreign nationals, who had been working in Afghanistan for NGOs, had to turn round because of the sheer volume of people on the street.’

An Afghan-Australian trying to leave the country also told ABC it is ‘not possible’ to get to the airport because there is ‘lots of firing’ and ‘too many people’ while Max Sangeen, a Canadian interpreter, said his wife and children – including a 20-day-old baby – are trapped in Kabul despite having the correct documents.

But it is not clear what western troops can do to help. There are around 6,000 American and 900 British soldiers at the airport – alongside smaller numbers of Turks and Australians – but their jurisdiction only extends up to the perimeter wall. Beyond that, the Taliban is in charge.

The huge US contingent keeping the airport secured piles pressure on Britain to get its citizens out quickly, with the smaller UK force unlikely to be able the hold the site if the Americans leave.

UK embassy guards plead for their lives after being told they are ineligible for rescue because they were subcontractors

Guards at the British Embassy in Kabul are pleading for their lives after apparently being told that they are ineligible for rescue because they were hired through an outsourced contractor.

Most of the 125-person team of security personnel received letters explaining they were not eligible for help because they ‘were not directly employed by Her Majesty’s Government’. Security for all British embassies globally was outsourced decades ago.

The guards at the Embassy in Kabul are employed by global security firm GardaWorld. Meanwhile, security personnel doing the same work for the now-closed US Embassy under a separate GardaWorld contract have been evacuated, and others are receiving support from the Americans.

The guards are now pleading with the British Government to reconsider its decision to refuse their applications. One told the Guardian: ‘We worked in frontline positions, doing the most dangerous work to keep British officials safe. We risked our lives for them, and now we find ourselves in this bad situation – not just us, but our families are at risk.’

The allegations are likely to put British ministers under further pressure to redouble efforts to evacuate as many people as possible.

Those on the ground say the Islamists have little or no idea what they are doing or who to let through, as the UN warned fighters are hunting through the crowd for those who collaborated with British or American forces so they can be ‘punished’ – despite public reassurances that there will be no reprisal attacks.

Mr Wallace said Taliban guards are allowing people with travel documents through checkpoints and British flights are not leaving the country empty – insisting that ‘not a single seat is wasted’. He revealed 120 people were evacuated this morning, with 138 due to follow later.

There were eight RAF transport planes – made up of A400 Atlas, C-130 Hercules and C-17 Globemasters – scheduled to leave Kabul today. But with military transports able to carry up to 150, it means there will have been empty seats on the flights despite Mr Wallace’s claims.

The passengers were made up of British citizens, media and human rights staff and Afghans who had worked for the British. The Ministry of Defence confirmed there were six British flights out of Kabul on Wednesday – despite Mr Wallace saying there were seven to 10 daily – meaning a maximum of 900 passengers were on board and free from the Taliban.

Meanwhile Joe Biden said when pressed Wednesday US troops were ‘going to stay’ in Afghanistan until they get American citizens out, even if it means running through an August 31 deadline order. The US President made the statement despite his own order soldiers will leave by the date, acknowledging the effort could run over if its citizens are still stuck in Afghanistan amid security and bureaucratic hurdles.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said he expects 18 US flights to take off today, though it is not clear how many people will be able to board each plane.

But Farthing slammed the comments as naive, saying: ‘Nobody can actually reach [the processing centre] because of the crowds and the chaos surrounding it.

‘It’s a lottery whether you get picked to get through the security. At the moment people who have seats booked on flights out of the airport are being turned back while others who storm fencing or are picked completely at random are getting on planes.

‘I’m livid at the Government’s mishandling of this, they need to take a moment, get their heads together, and work out a way with the Americans to help fly out ex-pats and those who need safety – like those who work for me – because otherwise we are looking at the worst humanitarian disaster in Afghanistan for a generation.’

The TRUE face of the Taliban: Villagers tortured to death with muscles sliced off + Police chief machine-gunned + Journalist’s family killed

Since retaking Afghanistan with alarming speed, the Taliban have gone on a charm offensive.

Insisting they’re a new organisation from the despotic jihadists of 20 years ago, who brutally oppressed women and allied themselves with Al Qaeda terrorists, this new ‘Taliban 2.0’, the world was assured, would now respect freedom, equality and basic humanity.

But those lies have now been exposed, and Afghanistan’s new rulers have proven beyond what little doubt there was that they are just as bloodthirsty and tyrannical as their equivalents from two decades ago.

Human rights group Amnesty International revealed that Taliban fighters massacred nine ethnic Hazara men after taking control of the country’s Ghazni province last month, with eyewitnesses giving harrowing accounts of the killings.

Six men were shot and three were tortured to death, including one man who was strangled with his own scarf and had his arm muscles sliced off during the atrocity, which took place between 4-6 July in the village of Mundarakht, Malistan district, the group revealed.

https://youtu.be/I4r_4i-vJIY

General Haji Mullah Achakzai

General Haji Mullah Achakzai

General Haji Mullah Achakzai

General Haji Mullah Achakzai

Despite the organisation’s claims it would not seek vengeance on those who fought their tyranny, one regional police chief who stood against them was executed in cold blood by the jihadist group, reports say.

Shocking video footage being circulated on the internet shows the kneeling handcuffed and blindfolded figure of General Haji Mullah Achakzai, chief of Badghis Province near Herat, being gunned down in a hail of bullets.

The grey-haired commander was reported to have been arrested by the Taliban after they seized the area, near the Turkmenistan border, in their lightning advance late last week.

The disturbing clip was re-tweeted by former BBC Persia journalist Nasrin Nawa after it emerged on the feed of an apparent resistance group to the Taliban called @PanjshirProvince.

Gen. Achakzai, in his early 60s, was an avowed enemy of the Taliban and known as a seasoned fighter in the long-running conflict between the group and the forces of the Afghan civil government, which fell at the weekend.

According to reports, the governor and police chief of Laghman Province near Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan have also been detained, with their fate to be decided by the Taliban high command.

The brutal execution follows numerous reports of Taliban patrols going door-to-door in some areas and taking men of fighting age into detention.

And while Taliban militants searched for a journalist for German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, one of the reporter’s family members was shot dead, according to local reports .

Taliban fighters pose for photograph in Wazir Akbar Khan in the city of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, August 18

Taliban fighters pose for photograph in Wazir Akbar Khan in the city of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, August 18

Now the jihadis are intensifying their hunt for those who dared to work with UK, US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, a confidential report to the UN reveals. Jihadists are going door-to-door to threaten relatives of civil servants, interpreters and other consular staff, while other militants are even stopping people outside Kabul airport.

Despite the Taliban’s claims of an ‘amnesty’, terrifying video shows fighters spraying assault rifle bullets just yards away from women and children gathered at the airport’s perimeter. The UN dossier leaked to The New York Times says the Taliban are ‘arresting and/or threatening to kill or arrest family members of target individuals unless they surrender themselves to the Taliban.’

It was filed to the UN by the Norwegian Center for Global Analyses, a group which provides intelligence on global conflicts.

The disturbing clip of the police chief’s slaying was re-tweeted by former BBC Persia journalist Nasrin Nawa after it emerged on the feed of an apparent resistance group to the Taliban called @PanjshirProvince.

After a content warning, Ms Nawa added: ‘Haji Mullah, Police chief of Badghis province executed by #Taliban. This is their public amnesty!’

The Taliban had promised that there would be no acts of vengeance against former enemies following their takeover of Afghanistan on Saturday.

Gen. Achakzai, in his early 60s, was an avowed enemy of the Taliban and known as a seasoned fighter in the long-running conflict between the group and the forces of the Afghan civil government, which fell at the weekend.

According to reports, the governor and police chief of Laghman Province near Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan have also been detained, with their fate to be decided by the Taliban high command.

The brutal execution follows numerous reports of Taliban patrols going door-to-door in some areas and taking men of fighting age into detention.

Senior Afghan officials told The Telegraph they have been forced into ‘deep hiding’ to avoid the marauding fighters who they suspect have gained access to government employee databases.

A smiling boy moves between US troops as he makes his way through a security checkpoint within Kabul airport on Wednesday

A smiling boy moves between US troops as he makes his way through a security checkpoint within Kabul airport on Wednesday

A Marine checks two civilians during processing through an Evacuee Control Checkpoint within the secure perimeter of the airport in Kabul on Wednesday

A Marine checks two civilians during processing through an Evacuee Control Checkpoint within the secure perimeter of the airport in Kabul on Wednesday

US marines guide an Afghan woman and her child towards an American evacuation flight at Kabul airport

US marines guide an Afghan woman and her child towards an American evacuation flight at Kabul airport

Civilians prepare to board a plane during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport on Wednesday

Civilians prepare to board a plane during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport on Wednesday

US Marines assigned to 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit escort evacuees during an evacuation at Kabul airport

US Marines assigned to 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit escort evacuees during an evacuation at Kabul airport

Evacuees boarding a C-17 Globemaster III during an evacuation at Kabul, August 18, 2021

Evacuees boarding a C-17 Globemaster III during an evacuation at Kabul, August 18, 2021

Taliban is intensifying hunt for Afghans who worked for US and UK as they go door-to-door to threaten relatives, UN report warns despite the terror group’s claims of an ‘amnesty’

Taliban militants are intensifying their hunt for people who worked with UK, US and Nato forces in Afghanistan, according to a confidential report to the UN.

Jihadists are going door-to-door to threaten relatives of civil servants, interpreters and other consular staff, while other militants are even stopping people outside Kabul airport.

Despite the Taliban’s claims of an ‘amnesty’, terrifying video today showed fighters spraying assault rifle bullets just yards away from women and children gathered at the airport’s perimeter.

The UN dossier leaked to The New York Times says the Taliban are ‘arresting and/or threatening to kill or arrest family members of target individuals unless they surrender themselves to the Taliban.’

It was filed to the UN by the Norwegian Center for Global Analyses, a group which provides intelligence on global conflicts.

It contained a letter dated August 16 from the Taliban to a senior counter-terror official in Afghanistan who had worked alongside the US and British officials.

The letter ordered the man to report to the Military and Intelligence Commission of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in Kabul. If he failed to do so, it warned that his family ‘will be treated based on Shariah law.’

Fawad Ahmadzai, another Canadian interpreter, said he and his family – a wife and four children – had been forced to ‘fight’ their way through guards to get to the airport terminal – saying they ignored his Canadian travel documents, beat him, and shot at him.

‘I was waving at them that I am a Canadian citizen,’ he said. ‘They didn’t even care about which passport I carry, they would only push us and hit us, and shooting ahead of us, scaring us so that we would leave.’

German national Vanessa Faizi, who had become trapped in Kabul after going to Afghanistan to visit family, spoke of violence at the airport before she managed to get a flight out.

‘We saw children being trampled on,’ she told journalists at an airport back in Germany.

Mr Wallace urged Afghan women not to pass babies to soldiers, saying unaccompanied children will not be put on flights. He did not say where the children will end up instead.

Elsewhere, Biden continued to defend his decision to withdraw – insisting chaos was inevitable while dismissing footage of people falling to their deaths from US planes as happening ‘four or five days ago’.

Boris Johnson was also mauled over the British government’s response to the crisis in a Commons debate, while foreign secretary Dominic Raab was facing calls to resign after it emerged he failed to make a crucial phone call about getting Afghan translators out of the country – delegating to a junior minister.

Labour MP Tom Tugendhat summed up the feeling of dismay when he said: ‘This is what defeat looks like.’

Mr Wallace also warned of the long-term damage the retreat from Afghanistan will do to the perception of western power, saying the scenes playing out in Kabul will encourage enemies in Moscow.

‘What I’m uncomfortable with is that we have a world order now, where resolve is perceived by our adversaries as weak, the West’s resolve,’ Wallace told BBC TV.

‘That is something we should all worry about: if the West is seen not to have resolve and it fractures, then our adversaries like Russia find that encouraging,’ Wallace told LBC radio.

Britain fears the Taliban’s return and the vacuum left by the West’s chaotic withdrawal will allow militants from al Qaeda to gain a foothold in Afghanistan, just 20 years after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

As the airlift of Western citizens and Afghans who worked for foreign governments sought to ramp up, Biden said US forces will remain until the evacuation of Americans was finished, even if that meant staying past the August 31 deadline for complete withdrawal.

General view showing people near the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 19, 2021

General view showing people near the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 19, 2021

Turkish troops pose with two medical workers as they wait to be airlifted out of the country on Friday morning

Turkish troops pose with two medical workers as they wait to be airlifted out of the country on Friday morning

Evacuatees from Kabul before their departure to Warsaw from Navoiy International Airport in Uzbekistan

Evacuatees from Kabul before their departure to Warsaw from Navoiy International Airport in Uzbekistan

Afghan evacuees wait at Navoiy International Airport in Uzbekistan before being flown to Poland

Afghan evacuees wait at Navoiy International Airport in Uzbekistan before being flown to Poland

Evacuees get off a military transport plane in Uzbekistan before being flown to Warsaw, in Poland

Evacuees get off a military transport plane in Uzbekistan before being flown to Warsaw, in Poland

Evacuatees from Kabul before their departure to Warsaw from Navoiy International Airport in Uzbekistan

Evacuatees from Kabul before their departure to Warsaw from Navoiy International Airport in Uzbekistan

Ben Wallace insists ‘not one seat is wasted’ on RAF flights out of Kabul

Ben Wallace today insisted the UK has not flown any empty planes out of Kabul despite carnage at the airport and fears the Taliban are blocking access.

The Defence Secretary said Western forces were working together to ensure that ‘not a single seat is wasted’ on the evacuation flights.

He said ‘the Taliban are letting through our people’ with 120 families being airlifted today, and another 138 families to follow later.

Mr Wallace stressed the desperate efforts to get people out will continue as long as US forces are in charge of the airport – with Joe Biden suggesting he could keep troops in place beyond his previous August 31 deadline.

Responding to reports that evacuation flights to other countries had left with only a handful of people on board, Mr Wallace told Times Radio: ‘Our people are getting through, we haven’t sent a single empty plane home.

‘And I don’t think many other nations have. I can’t speak for other nations, obviously, but fundamentally, the key here is when we have a plane if we have a single empty seat, we will offer it to other nations.

‘We’ve taken out interpreters who work for Nato, for example, we’ve taken out fellow European or other… we took some Japanese people out recently who were in need, so we will use every space on our planes possible.’

Thousands of British nationals and Afghan allies have been trying to get out of the country after the government dramatically collapsed and the Taliban took charge.

There have been grim scenes of women pleading to be let through the gates at the airport, and even reports of babies being passed over the railings by mothers.

UK ambassador Laurie Bristow, who has stayed in Kabul to process applications, has warned that there could only be ‘days’ left to evacuate people, with the extremists now controlling all access points.

Around 10,000 Afghan staff who helped the Western forces over the past year are now expected to come to the UK. The Government has also announced Britain will take 20,000 Afghans under a resettlement scheme, with 5,000 due to be accepted in the next 12 months. Women and girls as well as religious minorities and others facing persecution will be prioritised.

Downing Street said the Government will be encouraging international partners to emulate ‘one of the most generous asylum schemes in British history’ – but Labour said the offer was not bold enough.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is facing a huge backlash today after it emerged help for Afghan interpreters might have been delayed because he was on holiday in Crete last week.

The Daily Mail revealed that Foreign Office officials urged Mr Raab to call Afghan foreign minister Hanif Atmar on Friday – two days before the Taliban marched on Kabul – only for him to be ‘unavailable’ while on holiday.

In total, at least 8,000 people have been evacuated since Sunday, a Western security source in Kabul said.

A day earlier armed Taliban members prevented people from getting into the airport compound.

‘It’s a complete disaster. The Taliban were firing into the air, pushing people, beating them with AK47s,’ said one person who was trying to get through on Wednesday.

A Taliban official said commanders and soldiers had fired into the air to disperse crowds outside Kabul airport, but told Reuters: ‘We have no intention to injure anyone.’

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said domestic air carriers and civilian pilots will be allowed to fly into Kabul to conduct evacuation or relief flights only with prior US Defense Department approval.

Facing a barrage of criticism over the US withdrawal, Biden said chaos was inevitable. Asked in an interview with ABC News if the exit of US troops could have been handled better, Biden said: ‘No. … The idea that somehow, there’s a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don’t know how that happens.’

A new government to replace that of President Ashraf Ghani, who is in exile in the United Arab Emirates, may take the form of a ruling council, with Taliban supreme leader Haibatullah Akhundzada in overall charge, a senior member of the group said.

Afghanistan would not be a democracy. ‘It is sharia law and that is it,’ Waheedullah Hashimi, a senior Taliban official, told Reuters.

Ghani, who has been bitterly criticised by former ministers for leaving Afghanistan as Taliban forces swept into Kabul on Sunday, said he had followed the advice of government officials. He denied reports he took large sums of money with him.

‘If I had stayed, I would be witnessing bloodshed in Kabul,’ Ghani said in a video streamed on Facebook.

Meanwhile the Taliban celebrated Afghanistan’s Independence Day on Thursday by declaring it had beaten ‘the arrogant of power of the world’ in the United States, but challenges to their rule ranging from running the country’s frozen government to potentially facing armed opposition began to emerge.

From ATMs being out of cash to worries about food across this nation of 38 million people reliant on imports, the Taliban face all the challenges of the civilian government they dethroned without the level of international aid it enjoyed.

The Taliban so far have offered no plans for the government they plan to lead, other than to say it will be guided by Shariah, or Islamic, law. But the pressure continues to grow.

‘A humanitarian crisis of incredible proportions is unfolding before our eyes,’ warned Mary Ellen McGroarty, the head of the World Food Program in Afghanistan.

Thursday marked Afghanistan’s Independence Day, which commemorates the 1919 treaty that ended British rule in the central Asian nation.

‘Fortunately, today we are celebrating the anniversary of independence from Britain,’ the Taliban said. ‘We at the same time as a result of our jihadi resistance forced another arrogant of power of the world, the United States, to fail and retreat from our holy territory of Afghanistan.’

Unacknowledged by the insurgents, however, was their violent suppression of a protest Wednesday in the eastern city of Jalalabad, which saw demonstrations lower the Taliban’s flag and replace it with Afghanistan’s tricolor. At least one person was killed.

While urging people to return to work, most government officials remain hiding in their homes or attempting to flee the Taliban.

Questions remain over Afghanistan’s $9 billion foreign reserves, the vast majority now apparently frozen in the US. The country’s Central Bank head warns the country’s supply of physical US dollars is ‘close to zero,’ which will see inflation raise the prices of needed food while depreciating its currency, the afghani.

In another blow to the country, a drought has seen over 40 per cent of the country’s crop lost, McGroarty said. Many fled the Taliban advance and now live in parks and open spaces in Kabul.

‘This is really Afghanistan’s hour of greatest need, and we urge the international community to stand by the Afghan people at this time,’ she said.

Two of Afghanistan’s key border crossings with Pakistan, Torkham near Jalalabad and Chaman near Spin Boldak, are now open for cross-border trade.

Hundreds of trucks have passed through, Pakistan’s interior minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said.

But traders still fear insecurity on the roads, confusion over customs duties and pressures to price their goods even higher given the economic conditions.

There has been no armed opposition to the Taliban. But videos from the Panjshir Valley north of Kabul, a stronghold of the Northern Alliance militias that allied with the US during the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, appear to show potential opposition figures gathering there. That area is in the only province that has not fallen to the Taliban.

A bus carrying the first flight of Afghan evacuees to Australia touches down in the city of Perth

A bus carrying the first flight of Afghan evacuees to Australia touches down in the city of Perth

Police help unload Australian citizens and Afghan refugees who have arrived in Perth on an evacuation flight

Police help unload Australian citizens and Afghan refugees who have arrived in Perth on an evacuation flight

Luggage is taken off an Afghan evacuation flight that arrived in the city of Perth overnight

Luggage is taken off an Afghan evacuation flight that arrived in the city of Perth overnight

Taliban fighters whip women at the airport

Taliban fighters whip women at the airport

Taliban fighters whip women at the airport

Taliban fighters whip women at the airport

Those figures include members of the deposed government – Vice President Amrullah Saleh, who asserted on Twitter that he is the country’s rightful president, and Defense Minister Gen. Bismillah Mohammadi – as well as Ahmad Massoud, the son of the slain Northern Alliance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud.

In an opinion piece published by The Washington Post, Massoud asked for weapons and aid to fight the Taliban.

He wrote: ‘I write from the Panjshir Valley today, ready to follow in my father’s footsteps, with mujahideen fighters who are prepared to once again take on the Taliban.

‘The Taliban is not a problem for the Afghan people alone. Under Taliban control, Afghanistan will without doubt become ground zero of radical Islamist terrorism; plots against democracies will be hatched here once again.’

Afghan protesters defied the Taliban for a second day today, waving their national flag in scattered demonstrations that were met with renewed violence by the militants who are facing growing challenges to their rule.

A UN official warned of dire food shortages in this nation of 38 million people reliant on imports and experts said the country was severely short on cash, highlighting that the Taliban face the same problems as the civilian government they dethroned without the level of international aid it enjoyed.

In light of these challenges, the militants have moved quickly to suppress any dissent, despite their promises they have become more moderate since they last imposed draconian rule on Afghanistan. Many fear the Taliban will succeed in erasing two decades of efforts to expand women’s and human rights and remake the country.

A procession of cars and people near Kabul’s airport carried long black, red and green banners in honor of the Afghan flag – a banner that is becoming a symbol of defiance since the militants have their own flag. At another protest in Nangarhar province, video posted online showed one demonstrator with a gunshot wound bleeding, as onlookers tried to carry him away.

In Khost province, Taliban authorities instituted a 24-hour curfew Thursday after violently breaking up another protest, according to information obtained by journalists monitoring from abroad. The militants did not immediately acknowledge the demonstration or the curfew.

Protesters also took the streets in Kunar province, according to witnesses and social media videos that lined up with reporting by The Associated Press.

The demonstrations – which come as Afghans mark the Independence Day holiday that commemorates the 1919 treaty that ended British rule – were a remarkable show of defiance after the insurgents violently dispersed a protest Wednesday. At that rally, in the eastern city of Jalalabad, demonstrators lowered the Taliban’s flag and replace it with Afghanistan’s tricolor. At least one person was killed.

Meanwhile, opposition figures gathering in the last area of the country not under Taliban rule talked of launching an armed resistance under the banner of the Northern Alliance, which allied with the U.S. during the 2001 invasion.

It was not clear how serious a threat they posed given that the militants overran nearly the entire country in a matter of days with little resistance from Afghan forces.

The Taliban so far have offered no specifics on how they will lead, other than to say they will be guided by Shariah, or Islamic, law. They are in talks with senior officials of previous Afghan governments. But they face an increasingly precarious situation.

Afghan women lead protesters through the streets of Kabul on Thursday as they mark independence day with a show of defiance against the Taliban

Afghan women lead protesters through the streets of Kabul on Thursday as they mark independence day with a show of defiance against the Taliban

Hundreds were pictured marching national flag banners through the streets of Kabul, while more protests also took place in Khost, Kunar and Nangarhar provinces

Hundreds were pictured marching national flag banners through the streets of Kabul, while more protests also took place in Khost, Kunar and Nangarhar provinces

Women led independence day protesters through the streets of Kabul today, waving the black, red and green national flag in defiance of the country's new Taliban rulers

Women led independence day protesters through the streets of Kabul today, waving the black, red and green national flag in defiance of the country’s new Taliban rulers

Protesters fly the Afghan national flag behind a truck full of armed Taliban fighters in a brazen show of defiance

Protesters fly the Afghan national flag behind a truck full of armed Taliban fighters in a brazen show of defiance

 

Biden administration was warned LAST MONTH by US diplomats in Kabul of an impending Taliban ‘catastrophe’ if troops withdrew and was urged to evacuate ALL Americans starting on August 1 

A dozen diplomats sent a confidential memo to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on July 13 that the Taliban was rapidly gaining ground and the city was vulnerable to collapse

A dozen diplomats sent a confidential memo to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on July 13 that the Taliban was rapidly gaining ground and the city was vulnerable to collapse

State Department officials in the Kabul embassy told the Biden administration last month that the Afghan capital would fall and to speed up evacuations, a new report claims.

A dozen diplomats sent a confidential memo in a dissent channel to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on July 13 that the Taliban was rapidly gaining ground and the city was vulnerable to collapse, the Wall Street Journal reported.

On July 8, President Biden said it was ‘highly unlikely’ the Taliban would take control of Afghanistan and denied there would be chaos in Kabul.

It is the latest in a series of reported warnings the Biden administration potentially ignored as American forces left and the insurgents swept through the country with ease.

There are mounting questions over how the White House, the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence services were evaluating the future of Afghanistan, the threat of the Taliban and how quickly power would change hands.

Afghan security forces were collapsing, they said, and offered ways to mitigate the advancing insurgents.

But it may have been too late to stop them.

The State Department memo, according to the report, also called for the government to use tougher language on the violence in the past from the Taliban and urged them to start collecting information for Afghan allies who qualified for Special Immigrant Visas after working with US forces.

The Journal reported that 23 Embassy staffers signed the cable and rushed to deliver it considering the deteriorating situation in Kabul.

Blinken reviewed the cable, a personal familiar with it told the paper.

State Department spokesman Ned Price told the Journal: ‘He’s made clear that he welcomes and encourages use of the dissent channel, and is committed to its revitalization. We value constructive internal dissent.’

The memo urged the administration to start flights evacuating people out of the country no later than August 1st.

A former CIA counter-terrorism chief also advised the president’s campaign Kabul would crumble within days with a depleted American presence.

Douglas London was the CIA's counter-terrorism chief for south and south-west Asia

Douglas London was the CIA’s counter-terrorism chief for south and south-west Asia

President Biden has repeatedly said he was not warned that Kabul could fall so fast

President Biden has repeatedly said he was not warned that Kabul could fall so fast

Boris Johnson is savaged by MPs on all sides over ‘catastrophic failure’ in Afghanistan

MPs hammered Boris Johnson over the ‘catastrophic failure’ in Afghanistan – as the PM swiped at Joe Biden saying the ‘successful’ Afghan mission could not continue without ‘American might’.

As the desperate evacuation effort continues in Kabul, the premier defended his handling of the chaos insisting there was a ‘hard reality’ as a result of the US stance.

Mr Johnson told the recalled chamber – packed out for the first time since last year after Covid restrictions were dropped – that the ‘sacrifice’ of British troops was ‘seared into our national consciousness’.

He said the ‘core mission’ had been achieved as Afghanistan had not been a hotbed for terrorism.

However, he was immediately assailed by Tories, with defence committee chair Tobias Ellwood saying the West had ‘ceded the country to the very insurgents we went to defeat’.

Theresa May said Afghanistan would now be a breeding ground for extremism, accusing the PM of operating ‘on a wing and a prayer’ and hoping it would be ‘alright on the night’. Former chief whip Mark Harper said there had been a ‘catastrophic failure’.

Labour leader Keir Starmer said the premier had displayed ‘staggering complacency’, pointing out that his last visit to Afghanistan as Foreign Secretary in 2018 had been a ploy to avoid a vote on Heathrow Airport expansion.

There were also calls for the government to go further and faster in providing safe haven for Afghans who face the threat of persecution under the new Taliban regime.

Labour’s Chris Bryant said only 5,000 of 20,000 refugees were set to be accepted this year, raging that the rest were being asked to ‘hang around and wait until they have been executed’.

But in an interview released on Thursday morning, President Biden claimed that he was never told that such a rapid collapse was possible.

And a day earlier, Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he never saw any intelligence warning that the Afghan government could fall so quickly.

‘There was nothing that I or anyone else saw that indicated a collapse of this army and this government in 11 days,’ Milley said.

Their claims were disputed in a detailed account describing the state of understanding at the CIA written by Douglas London, the agency’s former counter-terrorism chief for south and south-west Asia, which offered a very different assessment.

He said the rapid collapse was one of a number of possible scenarios.

‘Ultimately, it was assessed, Afghan forces might capitulate under the circumstances we witnessed, in projections highlighted to Trump officials and future Biden officials alike,’ he wrote on the Just Security website.

London, who also served as a volunteer adviser to the Biden campaign after leaving the CIA in 2019, scoffed at the president’s claim that events in Afghanistan unfolded more rapidly than expected.

‘That’s misleading at best,’ he said. ‘The CIA anticipated it as a possible scenario.’

The Biden administration remains under intense pressure to explain what it did and did not know as it pushed ahead with the president’s order to bring home troops by Sept. 11.

Allies have said they were blindsided by the rapid pace and were not kept abreast of decision-making.

Britain’s most senior general said on Wednesday that the decision to abruptly leave Bagram air base, about 25 miles north of Kabul, on July 1 shattered Afghan morale.

London’s account says the Trump and Biden teams were given different estimates of how long President Ashraf Ghani and his security forces could resist a Taliban retreat, depending on the speed of withdrawal.

‘So, was it 30 days from withdrawal to collapse? 60? 18 months? Actually, it was all of the above, the projections aligning with the various “what ifs,”‘ he wrote.

But both presidents, he said, were motivated by seeking a political win in bringing home troops and ending the country’s ‘forever wars.’

‘For the candidate, who had long advocated withdrawal, the outcome was, as it had been with Trump, a foregone conclusion despite what many among his counterterrorism advisors counseled,’ he wrote.

‘President Biden himself has said as much in terms of his mind being made up.’

During the past week, Biden has shifted blame to the intelligence community, insisting that the rapid advance of the Taliban had taken the administration by surprise.

‘The truth is: This did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated,’ he said last week.

'There was nothing that I or anyone else saw it indicated a collapse of this army in this government in 11 days,' said Gen. Mark Milley

‘There was nothing that I or anyone else saw it indicated a collapse of this army in this government in 11 days,’ said Gen. Mark Milley

And in an interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News, Biden said there was no warning of such a precipitous fall.

‘Number one, as you know, the intelligence community did not say back in June or July that, in fact, this was gonna collapse like it did,’ he said.

Stephanopoulos proved for more detail. He asked: ‘They thought the Taliban would take over, but not this quickly?’

Biden replied: ‘But not this quickly. Not even close.’

In another part of the interview he said he could not remember ever being advised by senior Pentagon figures to maintain a military presence in the country.

Reports suggest that his generals urged him to leave 2,500 troops to support and train the Afghan force.

‘No, no one said that to me that I can recall,’ Biden said.

Milley echoed his commander-in-chief’s words during an earlier briefing when he said he had seen a range of forecasts.

‘The timeframe of a potential collapse was widely estimated and ranged from weeks to months and even years following our departure,’ he said.

‘There was nothing that I or anyone else saw it indicated a collapse of this army in this government in 11 days.’

After Kabul fell, regional experts have pointed out that anyone with an understanding of Afghanistan should have expected a possible cascade of surrenders or negotiations as commanders sensed the switch of momentum from government to Taliban.

London said those assessments were part of the briefings.

‘Switching sides for a better deal or to fight another day is a hallmark of Afghan history,’ he wrote. ‘And US policy to impose an American blueprint for a strong central government and integrated national army served only to enable Ghani’s disastrous and uncompromising stewardship.’

Raab call NEVER happened: Foreign Secretary’s job hangs by a thread after government admits truth about crucial call to save Afghan translators’ lives

Dominic Raab’s job was hanging by a thread last night as it emerged the crucial phone call that was delegated to a junior minister never took place.

Tory MPs yesterday joined a ferocious backlash against the Foreign Secretary over his failure to intervene while on holiday to help airlift translators out of Afghanistan. The Mail revealed yesterday that Mr Raab had been advised by officials to interrupt his luxury trip to Crete on Friday to urgently contact his Afghan counterpart.

The Foreign Secretary, however, failed to make the call and it was ‘delegated’ to the duty Foreign Office minister Lord Goldsmith. It was thought the telephone conversation had then taken place the following day.

Dominic Raab's job was hanging by a thread last night as it emerged the crucial phone call that was delegated to a junior minister never took place

Dominic Raab’s job was hanging by a thread last night as it emerged the crucial phone call that was delegated to a junior minister never took place

But in an explosive development last night it emerged the call had never actually taken place. The Foreign Office admitted that as the Afghan regime collapsed, it had proved impossible to rearrange.

The revelation will intensify the pressure on Mr Raab, who yesterday faced a clamour to consider his position and resign.

Yesterday, he insisted he would not step down as he broke cover to hold a virtual meeting of G7 leaders. The Foreign Office released pictures of the Foreign Secretary at work and on the phone and said he was working to provide humanitarian assistance and support in Afghanistan.

Afghans who risked their lives by working as translators alongside British soldiers accused the Foreign Secretary of a ‘betrayal’ and warned that his failure to get urgent assistance could cost lives.

Angry Conservative MPs accused Mr Raab for being ‘asleep at the wheel’ and of lacking commitment to the job, with one Tory peer saying he should reflect on his future. Opposition parties meanwhile, said Mr Raab was guilty of a ‘dereliction of duty’ and called for him to be sacked.

Afghan translator Rafi Hottak, who was injured while alongside soldiers in Helmand, was among those to tell of his fury last night, saying: ‘It is a betrayal.

‘The priority should have been British citizens and those Afghans who helped them. They are trapped in chaos now and in the days and hours before the Taliban arrived anything that could have been done should have been done.’

And one angry Tory MP said: ‘Raab was asleep at the wheel. Backbench MPs are absolutely livid about his ‘not my problem guv’ attitude, as if it was not his responsibility. It has really riled up colleagues. The issue is not that he was on holiday, it is that he seemed to be unaware of what was happening.’

Taliban fighters flying their flag drive through the centre of Kabul as they try to maintain security in the capital

Taliban fighters flying their flag drive through the centre of Kabul as they try to maintain security in the capital

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