Boris Johnson’s national security adviser has suggested that lives were “potentially put at risk” after Britain left behind sensitive documents at his former embassy in Kabul in the midst of a Western evacuation from Afghanistan.
Sir Stephen Lovegrove told MPs and colleagues that the incident was “extremely regrettable” as reports in the summer that embassy staff had left the contact details of Afghans who had worked with British forces were scattered on the ground.
This happened as the government attempted to evacuate British citizens and Afghans who had worked with them, including translators, amid fears of retaliation as the Taliban insurgency seized power in the region.
Reporters have found papers identifying seven Afghans many times The newspaper, which handed over the details to the Foreign Office team involved in the airlift from Kabul International Airport in August.
When asked by the Joint Committee on National Security Strategy about the release of the sensitive document, Sir Stephen said: “There is still an incomplete Foreign Office investigation, so I don’t want to pre-judge it.”
However, he added: “To put it very lightly this is extremely regrettable and potentially life threatening and should not have happened. I couldn’t be more clear than that.”
The Foreign Office has previously suggested that “every effort was made to destroy sensitive material and our staff worked tirelessly to protect those who worked for us” during the evacuation. The Whitehall Department also reported the incident to the Office of the Information Commissioner (ICO).
Elsewhere, Sir Stephen also told members of the committee that he did not believe Britain should “tear down” the way intelligence is assessed – a failure for the Taliban to predict Afghanistan’s rapid collapse. in spite of.
He said: “The assessment of what happened in Afghanistan – with the single but very important exception of the intensity of the collapse – was correct.
“So we need to look at why we got the tempo of the collapse question wrong, we’re doing it… .. a great deal of what we thought happened – the speed at which it passed was what we did it wrong.”
The prime minister’s national security adviser also insisted that the pace of the fall of Kabul, included in intelligence assessments, was at a “very low” level of confidence.
Sir Stephen said the central scenario was that Britain would maintain a diplomatic presence in Afghanistan and that its government would remain active “at least until the end of this calendar year”.
“Obviously the assessment was wrong at that level but no one ever said that the assessment was going to be definitely correct, it happened at the time as the low level likely – and everyone else including the Taliban thought at the time Was.”
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /